Online Poker Accounts Illegally Seized by US
NEW YORK, NEW YORK --
The head of the lobbying organization representing online poker players in the US says that actions taken by the US Department of Justice to freeze bank accounts holding the winnings of US players are not justified by statutes. John Pappas, the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, says the seizure orders were committed without due process and will not hold up in court.
"The government is on shaky legal ground in terms of being able to justify doing this under any act that has to do with gambling,” Pappas told Poker News Daily. The US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York claims the Wire Act and the Illegal Gambling Business Act warrant the freezings, but legal precedents indicate otherwise.
“The highest court to rule has concluded that the Wire Act applies to Internet sports betting," Pappas revealed. "Not to mention, in the state of New York, statutes say it’s not unlawful for players to place a wager."
Some observers, including the attorney representing the transaction processors whose accounts were disrupted, think the move is designed to create headlines for the federal authorities, potentially scaring players away from funding their accounts at poker websites. The timing is certainly right, falling in the middle of the World Series of Poker.
Bank accounts affected are located at at least four different banks, including Wells Fargo, Citibank, the Alliance Bank of Arizona, and Goldwater Bank. Among the future issues to be addressed is the freezing of accounts by these banks without warrant or court order, acting only on response from request by US officials.
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