On Jan. 4, James Davitt, one of five men caught up in a payment processor sweep by Maryland’s US Attorney’s Office, pleaded guilty in US District Court to one count of conducting an illegal gambling business. Davitt is said to have used two California companies, HMD Inc. and Forshay Enterprises, to facilitate payouts from online poker companies to players.
According to the Baltimore City Paper, as part of his plea agreement, Davitt agreed to cooperate with the US Attorney’s Offices in both Maryland and New York for “at least the next several months.” The Southern District of New York has been waging a sustained campaign against eCom related to internet gambling operations, pure poker companies in particular.
The other four men charged in the Maryland probe are Edward Courdy, Michael Garone, Martin Loftus and Kenneth Wienski. Courdry and Garone were charged in relation to $7.9m worth of payouts to poker players who played on Bodog prior to 2008 (although Alwyn Morris of the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group, the Kahnawake-based owner of the Bodog.com gaming business, issued a press release at the time refuting allegations that the seized funds belonged to Bodog). Garone signed his own plea agreement in September 2008, while Courdy’s case appears to be under seal.
Wienski is alleged to have helped process $3.9m in payouts on behalf of Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars in 2009 via SNR Inc. (a medical-billing company) and Diversified Check Solutions (a check-processing company). Loftus is accused of money laundering for facilitating payouts totaling $1.5m on behalf of Full Tilt in 2009. In total, the Maryland US Attorney’s office claims to have seized $65m during its probe, “some of which is still being litigated.”