Wiltshire: CPS confiscates £1.3 million of laundered money gained from illegal virtual casinos

11/02/2010

A married couple who ran a business which laundered more than US$ 14 million of funds from multi-million pound illegal online casino businesses have had the company's assets confiscated by prosecutors.

Gavin and Louise Lazarus ran a lucrative money laundering scheme in conjunction with their Canadian cousin for two years. At the time of their arrest, in excess of £1.3m was held in the bank accounts of their UK registered company - Net Payment Solutions Ltd.

Lynne Henderson, Crown Advocate for the Crown Prosecution in Wiltshire, said: "The Crown Prosecution Service and Wiltshire Police have succeeded in taking £1.3 million of criminal property out of circulation after a confiscation order was made against the Company, who pleaded guilty to money laundering at Swindon Crown Court on 8 February 2010.

 "We worked very closely from the early stages of this case with Wiltshire Police, which conducted a careful and thorough investigation enabling us to gather strong evidence to put before the court including evidence from Canada of a successful prosecution against a linked company, Cyber World Group."

Gavin and Louise Lazarus, as Company Director and Company Secretary of Net Payments Solutions Ltd, used the firm's bank accounts to launder funds from around the world between 1st July 2005 and 30th of June 2007.  The money was transferred between companies connected with online gambling.  Gavin Lazarus' cousin, Maurice Rose, who lives in Canada, helped set up Net Payment Solutions and was a signatory on its UK bank accounts.  He introduced business to Net Payment Solutions Ltd and received remuneration from the Company.

Maurice Rose's business partners included Golden Palace and Totalpay Services, both owned by Richard Rowe.  These companies sent money to the UK, largely in US dollars, and then Net Payment Solutions Limited transferred the money on to various companies, including more than US$10 million to Maurice Rose's own Canada-based company Cyber Administration Inc.  Golden Palace obtained licences for its virtual casinos from the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and ran the sites through Cyber World Group.  Cyber World Group was found guilty, under the Canadian Criminal Code, of operating unlicensed virtual casinos in 2007.  The Canadian investigation found that Cyber World Group was in effect Golden Palace.

Mrs Henderson said: "Gavin and Louise Lazarus had their company bank accounts closed down after bank staff warned them that their activity may have amounted to money laundering. Despite this, and warnings from friends, the couple decided to carry on with their business by opening accounts with a different bank. They quite simply turned a blind eye to the warnings. After considering all the evidence we therefore decided that money laundering was the appropriate charge."

Net Payment Solutions Limited was fined and ordered to pay the confiscation order within 14 days.