Douglas Rennick, who worked with the internet gaming payment processors KJB Financial Corporation, Account Services, My ATM Online, Alenis Limited, and Check Payment Financial, has been indicted on bank fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling charges.
The announcement came via a press release distributed by the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Lev Dassin and FBI Assistant Director Joseph Demarest headed the indictment, which charged Rennick with “bank fraud and other offenses stemming from his role in processing more than $350 million for Internet gambling companies.” Rennick is a Canadian citizen who was involved in the business of processing payments for various companies since 2007. The investigation into his activities was concluded in June, coinciding with the seizure by the Southern District of New York of over $30 million in funds destined for online poker players.
When Rennick and company opened the accounts in question, they stated that funds would be used for activities like “issuing rebate checks, refund checks, sponsorship checks, affiliate checks, and minor payroll processing,” according to the statement from the Department of Justice. In addition to processing online poker payments, Rennick’s accounts were also used to issue winnings for online blackjack, slots, and other casino games. No mention of sports betting was given. Funds were sent to U.S. residents under the names KJB Financial Corporation, Account Services, My ATM Online, Alenis Limited, and Check Payment Financial.
A bank in Cyprus funneled $350 million to U.S. bank accounts for the payment processing. Rennick was charged with one count of bank fraud, one count of money laundering, and one count of operating an illegal gambling business. He faces up to 55 years in prison combined, with bank fraud carrying up to a 30 year sentence, money laundering carrying up to a 20 year sentence, and illegal gambling carrying up to a five year sentence. He also faces up to $1.75 million in total fines for the three charges.
Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) Chairman Joe Brennan told Poker News Daily just moments after the news broke this morning, “We’re taking a wait and see attitude instead of taking the knee-jerk reaction to defend the processor. We’re going to take a step back to see what the processor has been doing. If they’ve been engaged in bank fraud, then they are not doing the online poker world any favors.”
The Department of Justice is also seeking the return of $565,000 from Rennick as well as the funds in Union Bank and Wells Fargo branches under the name Account Services. That payment processor recently filed a motion for return of property of $14 million in funds seized from bank branches in California. Its hearing in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California is scheduled for August 21st, two weeks from tomorrow. The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) submitted a motion to contribute an amicus brief in support of Account Services and the organization officially has until Friday to submit it. PPA Executive Director John Pappas told Poker News Daily that the PPA will still file an amicus brief in the case that will focus on proving that poker is a game of skill.
On the future of the Account Services case, Brennan speculated, “It’s going to be difficult for them to do both things at once, to bring a civil action in California while Rennick is the target of a criminal indictment. It’s going to be difficult to proceed with both of the actions.” Pappas had no comment on Rennick’s indictment. Account Services counsel Michael Pancer was out of the office on Thursday.
A call placed to the U.S. Department of Justice revealed that no timetable has been set for the indictment from here. We’ll keep you posted on Poker News Daily.