Feds in Maryland Seize Six More Bank Accounts Tied to Laundering Gambling Proceeds
Update: Accused Money-Launderer’s Lawyer Says His Client No Longer Owns Payment-Processor Electracash
As recounted in court documents made public yesterday in Maryland’s U.S. District Court, federal authorities seized the contents of six Wachovia Bank accounts held by a company called Forshay Enterprises, Inc., saying the accounts hold gambling proceeds involved in money laundering. The move follows nine other gambling-related bank-account seizures filed in Maryland in July and August, six against accounts held by a company called Electracash, Inc., and the remaining three held by HMD, Inc.
The affidavits supporting the seizures of all 12 accounts are under seal, so the nature of the investigation behind them remains secret. For several years now, however, the feds in Maryland have been pursuing alleged money laundering in the internet-gambling realm, and last year filed charges against two men, Edward Courdy and Michael Garone, said to be tied to the online gambling titan Bodog, owned by Calvin Ayre, a Canadian living in exile.
Public documents available in the Maryland-based Bodog investigation show the lead investigative agency to be the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division, whereas in the recent bank-account seizures, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) law enforcers are submitting the court filings. Most of the accounts seized are located in California cities near Los Angeles (La Habra, Anaheim, and Long Beach), though one is in Cherry Hill, N.J., and another in Sioux Falls, S.D.
The most recent seizure case, which was made public on Sept. 23 on the federal courts online service, PACER, involved the six Wachovia accounts in the name of Forshay Enterprises. U.S. District Court magistrate Judge James Bredar signed the warrant on Aug. 28, based on a sealed affidavit provided by Richard S. Gunn, an Anne Arundel County police detective and ICE task-force officer, who requested the Forshay account seizures, court documents show.
Forshay, according to one of its web sites, “owns, manages and controls www.TransactSvc.com,” and its “network of product and service affiliates provide TransactSvc.com with a worldwide presence encompassing business services, internet consulting services and consumer product lines allowing us to compete in the global e-commerce world.” The contact page on TransActSvc.com explains that its office is located in Garden Grove, Calif., and that “if you’ve reached this site because you have a charge on your bank or credit card statement from ‘www.transactsvc.com’ and have questions, you’ve found the right place.” Messages left at the company’s phone number were not returned.
On Sept. 9, seizure cases were made public against three bank accounts-two with Bank of America and one with Citibank-held by HMD, Inc., which is tied to processing gambling-related payments. On Aug. 25, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Paul Grimm signed the warrants, which were based on a sealed affidavit prepared by Robert J. Mignogna, a Maryland state trooper assigned to an ICE task force. Attempts to reach representantives of HMD have been unsuccessful.
The third company whose bank accounts have been seized by federal authorities in Maryland is called Electracash Inc., which, in Bodog court documents, is said to be owned by Edward Courdy, one of the two men charged last year with gambling-related money laundering in Maryland. The six accounts were held in three banks: Bank of America, First Premier Bank, and Interstate Net Bank. ICE special agent M. Lisa Ward prepared the affidavit for those warrants, which were signed by Judge Bredar. In sealing the affidavit, Bredar noted it would remain sealed until further order of the court, or Jan. 10, 2010, whichever comes first. Numerous messages left with Electracash officials have gone unreturned, and Courdy’s attorney has declined to discuss any aspect of his client’s case with City Paper.