Monday, May 23, 2011

Defendant Folds Hand in Online Poker Case

One of the eleven defendants charged in the online poker criminal case in the New York has plead guilty and agreed to cooperate. 

Bradley Franzen plead guilty in court today and admitted to assisting oinline poker companies to process their internet gambling transactions. 

Mr. Franzen's company aided the copnspiracy by matching online poker sites with electronic-payment processors.  He admitted that he matched such services and sought to disguise the nature of the payments from law enforcement by dealing with shell companies and phony websites.

Franzen's plea reflects the strength of the government's position in prosecuting online gamlbling violations under the criminal laws.  In 2006, Congresss enacted a prohibition on processing of internet gambling transactions.  Even under the existing law there is a real question as to whether or not poker is a game of skill or a game of chance, the latter being prohibited under the law. 

At a hearing Monday, Mr. Franzen plead guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, to accepting funds in connection with unlawful Internet gambling and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on the money-laundering conspiracy charge.

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