Bradley Franzen, one of the eleven individuals charged in the Black Friday indictments, has pleaded guilty to money laundering. Franzen was booked on three counts in regards to the internet gambling indictments of the three top poker sites, by the Department of Justice last month and accepted his guilt. He is the first of eleven to crumble under pressure – now leaving no way out for the other ten.
Franzen has agreed that he has helped disguise the Internet transactions to make them look like they were related to a merchant site’s transactions, and he also pleaded guilty to have taken part in committing bank fraud and money laundering.
Bradley Franzen is 41 years old and is from Costa Rica, and he has agreed in front of Nathaniel Fox, US Magistrate Judge, that he owned a company that aids merchants in processing payments for customers. In 2009, he was contacted by an online poker operator to handle checks for American customers, and hence he lied to the banks and created fake merchant sites to disguise the payments as other transactions. Bradley Franzen, clearly admits that he knew that this was illegal in the US, and hence pleaded guilty.
Bradley has closed any small window of opportunity for the others to plead ignorance and only left them with the option of pleading guilty of what they have been accused of. Bradley faces thirty years in prison once he is sentenced. Based on this co-operation agreement he can seek a shorter prison sentence. Bradley will also lose all the money accumulated from these illegal activities. Bradley’s lawyer has declined comment.
Bradley also owns a home in Illinois and hence he is a US citizen, who has pleaded guilty to these charges. The question that arises from all of this is for those who proclaim ignorance or claim that internet gambling in US to be legal is that; if it were legal then why would anyone need to disguise these online transactions at all. If internet gambling were legal, that would not be considered a violation of any US law.
In 2006, US made it a crime to knowingly process any transactions related to internet gambling and hence in this case the banks will most likely claim ignorance to know the intentions behind those transactions and escape the punishment. But, the question once again is that if they were ignorant then how could they process millions of dollars in transactions for sports and flower merchant sites, which were the ones used to disguise these transactions by Bradley Franzen. Franzen claims that he does not know the exact amount that was processed through these illegal transactions.