July 30, 2007 was a red-letter day for many US-based online poker players and gamblers; marking the release of funds frozen for several months by online payment processor Neteller, amounting to $94 million in assets spread among thousands of US players.
Neteller froze all US accounts as part of an ongoing investigation by the United States Attorney's Office into allegations of money laundering and other illegal activities. In return for opening the company's books to "forensic accountants" and the payment of $136 million in fines, Neteller avoided any criminal prosecution, provided the company abides by the terms of its agreement with the USAO for a period of two years. This announcement in June paved the way for US Neteller customers to receive their frozen funds, ranging in amounts from a few hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars in some cases.
"We are very pleased to start the funds distribution process today. I can assure our US customers it has been our highest priority and we'd like to thank them for their patience during this period", said Ron Martin, President and CEO. "The implementation of this plan marks another major step forward in the Company's recovery strategy".
US customers can now log into their Neteller accounts and make one transaction, a full withdrawal of all funds. Customers cannot make any peer-to-peer transfers, and must either transfer funds via EFT to a previously registered bank account, or via a check should the customer no longer have a valid bank account registered with Neteller. US account holders have until January 26, 2008 to log in and request their funds, after which all accounts will be closed and the money forfeited.