55 Years for Laundering Billions in Illegal Casino Revenue

By Maria McCoyGoogle

Ira Rubin, a known criminal who has been charged over 24 times in the last 40 years, has pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud, money laundering, wire fraud, and other offences connected to illegal online gambling.  Rubin, who could sit in the big house for up to 55 years, set up straw companies on behalf of major online casino operators in the U.S. in order to cover up illegal earnings from U.S. banks that refused to conduct financial reactions on behalf of the online casinos. 

Rubin’s name hit the news last April when the USDOJ and the FBI shut down America’s three biggest online poker sites, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and Poker Stars.  Prosecutor Preet Bharara explained that Rubin, as part of his plea deal, admitted to disguising the illegal revenue of the online casinos by misleading the banks to believe that the transfers were taking place on behalf of regular merchandisers such as jewelers and clothing stores.

The online casino games operators were forces to turn to a third party in the first place because the banks were unwilling to facilitate transactions of behalf of online casinos for fear of violating the 1961 Federal Wire Act.  It’s ironic that less than one year after “black Friday” the USDOJ revised their understanding of the Wire Act to exclude online gambling.  If this revision had happened earlier, perhaps the operators would not have had to turn to shady third party money launderers in the first place.

Proponents of legalizing USA online casinos claim that this instance further stresses the importance of legalization and regulation of online gambling in order to prevent such unpleasantries. 

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