NETeller founder pleads guilty to gambling charges
One of the founders of the specialist online gambling payment processor NETeller Plc, Stephen Lawrence, has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy over the handling of billions of dollars in illegal gambling proceeds.
Mr Lawrence, 47, was arrested by U.S authorities in January along with fellow-founder, John Lefebvre, as the United States stepped up their crackdown on illegal online gambling following the introduction of last year’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), making it illegal for US banks to process relating to online casinos and poker rooms.
Soon after, NETeller withdrew from the lucrative U.S market wiping out approximately two-thirds of their business.
Lawrence has agreed to co-operate with the government and faces a maximum sentence of five years in jail. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan, the case against Mr Lefebvre is still on-going.
"Mr. Lawrence is very glad to have this episode over and looks forward to moving on to the next stage of his life," Mr Lawrence’s attorney Peter Neiman said after the hearing.
Lawrence has had his sentencing date set for October 29. In the meantime, he is allowed to travel within the United States, Canada and the Bahamas.
Meanwhile, NETeller Plc has failed to present its annual audited accounts for 2006 to shareholders of the company within six months of the last financial year, as it is required to do so by Rule 19 of the AIM.
NETeller have put the delay down to the investigation by US authorities, which it says will be concluded by July 13 2007. Shares of the company remain to be suspended from trading.
Editor, Jackpot.co.uk - 2007-07-02 11:10:36