The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) seems intent on grasping the title of poker’s most hated adversary. Not content with orchestrating the seizure of $34 million worth of poker player’s funds, he has now announced a $566 million law suit against Canadian payment processor owner Douglas Rennick. Rennick is charged with three separate illegal acts: bank fraud, money laundering, and gambling conspiracy.
Douglas Rennick is the founder and owner of a number of payment processing companies that do business with sites such as Full Tilt, Poker Stars, and Ultimate Bet. Firms under his ownership include My ATM Online, Alenis Limited, KJB Financial Corporation, Check Payment Financial Co, and Account Services Corporation. If he is found guilty of all three charges he could face up to 55 years in prison.
Account Services Corporation have become particularly prominent in recent weeks after they filed a Motion for Return of Property regarding the $34 million seizure. The company lost about $13 million as a result of the actions of the SDNY. Rennick’s company contend that the seizure was not only an incorrect application of the law, but that, as the correct warrants had not been instated, it was also done illegally.
This latest action from the U.S. Attorney appears to be borne out of retaliation. The suit filed by acting US attorney Lev Dassin claims that Rennick acted illegally by transferring money in the US that was intended for online gambling. It is also alleged that he deliberately mislead the banks regarding his intentions. “Rennick and his co-conspirators provided false and misleading information to United States banks about the purpose of the accounts because the banks would not have processed the transactions had they known they were gambling-related.”
CardPlayer reported the thoughts of PPA member and former World Champion Greg Raymer. “Anytime something immoral happens, I’m outraged by it. And I consider what these prosecutors have done to be immoral. If they actually think online poker is illegal, they’re incompetent. That’s just not an appropriate interpretation of any of these federal laws.”
The case which began this back and forth exchange has also seen a new development in the past few days. The parent company of gaming news site Gambling 911 (Costigan Media) has been granted their request to view the court documents relating the SDNY’s seizure of $34 million worth of poker funds.
The documents display a high level of redaction, but news blog Pokerati have reported an update on the situation from Joe Brennan of the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association. He had word from the court that the U.S Attorney was due to be called before the court at noon today to explain why the court files must remain redacted, in light of the announcement of the suit against Douglas Rennick.
The counter-suit filed by Account Services Corporation is set to be heard on August 21st, while no official date has been released for the Douglas Rennick case.