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Neteller Founders Charged With Conspiracy And Money Laundering

Law, 2007-01-16, by TwoGun

Stephen Lawrence and John Lefebvre founded Neteller, a popular online gambling money transfer service, in 1999. Both no longer have an active role with the publicly traded company, though each has a significant shareholding.

Both Lawrence and Lefebvre are charged with conspiring to transfer funds with the intent to promote illegal gambling. Each could face up to twenty years in prison.

The indictment cites Lawrence and Lefebvre violating Section 1956(a)(2)(A) of Title 18 of the United States Code, which states: "Whoever transports, transmits, or transfers, or attempts to transport, transmit, or transfer a monetary instrument or funds from a place in the United States to or through a place outside the United States or to a place in the United States from or through a place outside the United States-
(A) with the intent to promote the carrying on of specified unlawful activity;"

In reference to the "specified unlawful activity," the indictment cites both federal and state anti-gambling laws. This case marks the first time the United States Department of Justice has charged a major firm in the internet gambling industry that was not primarily a sportsbook.

This case is not necessarily related to the recently passed Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The FBI began their investigation of Neteller in June 2006, several months before the UIGEA was passed.

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