Optimal Group to Forfeit Over $19 million to US DOJ

Published Monday, November 02, 2009 - Online-Casinos.com

Canadian-based Optimal Group Inc. known to most online gamblers as 'FirePay' has reached a non-prosecution agreement with US Justice Department. The agreement includes a forfeiture of $19.2 million dollars to be retained by the Department of Justice. The electronic processing company, FirePay, operated in the US market between 2004 and 2006 and has ceased all operations since then.

In 2007 FirePay had it's assets seized by the DOJ as that agency began to target processing companies in their efforts to enforce the prohibition of online gambling activities in the USA. The U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan said, “Optimal, operating an electronic wallet called FirePay, processed more than $2 billion worth of illegal gambling transactions for United States customers,” That's serious money for anyone who thinks that online gambling in the USA is insignificant. Reuters news agency reported U.S. prosecutors said that Optimal acknowledged that internet gambling merchants broke U.S. criminal law by offering gambling in the United States. This has opened the door it is suggested for the DOJ to target the online gambling merchants mentioned in the statement who themselves were deemed to have violated federal law because of their connection with FirePay.

The Optimal statement read that the sum agreed represented a “disgorgement of property involved in and proceeds received from the payment processing services that were provided by the company’s subsidiaries to Internet gambling merchants in relation to U.S. customers of such merchants.”

In return for an assurance of non-prosecution Optimal confirmed in its own statement that it would forfeit the $19 182 418.82 already seized to the U.S. government.

Optimal stopped taking transactions from customers in the USA in October of 2006 when the UIGEA was signed into law. Now the company is mainly a toy and consumer electronics firm.



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