A 27-year old Australian man was arrested Friday in Las Vegas on charges that he helped offshore Internet gambling companies process online gambling transactions worth more than $543 million for American gamblers.
Daniel Tzvetkoff, who was arrested in Las Vegas while attending a conference, has been charged with illegal gambling conspiracy, bank fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and money laundering. He faces up to 75 years in prison, and at least $543 million in fines, "in that such sum in aggregate is property representing the amount of proceeds obtains as a result of the gambling conspiracy offense," according to the indictment against him.
According to the Queensland Courier-Mail, U.S. authorities may have been tipped off
to Tzvetkoff's activities and presence inside the United States by online gambling companies who allege that he stole $100 million of U.S. player deposits.
"Daniel went to the U.S. and got into the country no problems (sic)," a former coworker of Tzvetkoff told the Courier-Mail. "I think him wandering around that conference sort of thumbing his nose at some of the people he owed large amounts of cash to caused them to get in touch with the FBI."
According to the indictment obtained by the U.S. Attorney from the Southern District of New York, Tzvetkoff laundered money from February, 2008, until March, 2009, when online gambling companies stopped working with him as a result of the alleged theft.
Tzvetkoff's company, Intabill, Inc., used Automated Clearing House transactions to move money from the checking accounts of online gamblers to several offshore shell companies. He then moved those funds to online gambling accounts. He also used those companies to move player winnings from online casinos back into U.S. bank accounts.
"In an e-mail dated March 12, 2009," the indictment reads, "Tzvetkoff instructed the Intabill Representative to e-mail banks from a non-Intabill e-mail address, to tell the banks that the Intabill Representative 'was referred to them by another processor or bank or something along those lines,' and to claim that the Intabill Representative 'work(s) for a large processor of general e-commerce.'"
Earlier, in May, 2008, a co-conspirator not named in the indictment, e-mailed Tzvetkoff to inform him that he had "'hired 4 contract programmers to develop unique APIs/URLs for the new processing companies,' and that therefore '(t)he ACH companies will look, feel and be different than each other!! We have taken this step to absolutely ensure that no one company will look or be the same as the other so that if a customer/client is checking the companies out there is absolutely no way they will tie the companies together.' One minute later Tzevtkoff responded: 'this is all perfect!'"
Tzvetkoff is the second man to be arrested in the last year for processing Internet gambling deposits and withdrawals. In August, 2009, Canadian resident Douglas Rennick was charged
with transferring more than $350 million from bank accounts in Cyprus to U.S. banks to pay Internet gamblers.
In an earlier version of this story, we incorrectly identified the company run by Tzvetkoff as "Instabill," not Intabill. Instabill is a separate payment processing company, unrelated to Intabill and Tzevtkoff.