While politicians in Washington D.C. battle over the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, another kind of legal drama is being played out in California. The ongoing investigation into the alleged illegal betting activity of the individuals who ran gaming software firm Handa Lopez, nearly 13 months after their Sunnyvale offices were raided, came to head yesterday when a two-count indictment against the two individuals as well as the company was filed in a San Jose Federal Court. Named in the indictment are Handa Lopez, David Brown and Raymond Clark.
The indictment charges that the two violated federal gambling laws by operating up to 17 Internet gambling sites from computers located in California, where they allegedly processed more than $6 million in credit card transactions. Further, a second indictment charges that Brown failed to report more than $330,000 in income during 1997. Federal authorities are reportedly also attempting to seize property from Brown, including a 1998 Ferrari and a 1998 Piper Seneca airplane.
The indictment follows a raid on the company's California offices last May by a bevy of gun-toting federal agents. Officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Treasury Department, Customs, Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) and the Internal Revenue Service
(IRS) participated in the raid, along with some help from the Sunnyvale Police Department.
At that time, agents seized the company's computers and files, as well as the company's bank accounts, which was authorized under the sealed warrant.
Handa Lopez offered casino games on a "contest model" with the ability to gain online gaming currency through mail-in offers. The company launched the unique system through Casino Royale (www.funscape.com), before spinning it off to other sites. At that time, Brown's attorney Nanci Brown maintained that Handa Lopez was operating legally. The company had 25-30 licensees, many of which were operating out of the Dominican Republic when the raid occurred.
IGN will post further details, including a copy of the indictment, in coming days.