A 29 year old German man named Michael Olaf Schuett has been targeted by a federal investigation in the United States, where he allegedly laundered more than $70 million worth of online poker winnings. Schuett served more than 23,000 customers since 2007, most of whom were American citizens.
Schuett was not associated with any online poker sites in the United States. Instead, he dealt as a middle-man between US players and foreign-based gambling sites. Authorities have been watching the man ever since the shipping company Federal Express became suspicious when he started sending out as many as 50 parcels every day. FedEx opened several of the parcels and found checks inside.
In a 39-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Schuett’s crimes are outlined in detail. The man used multiple bank accounts to assist with his money laundering scheme. He had 40 accounts opened at Bank of America alone. The accounts were opened under the umbrella company USAG24 which Schuett operated; beneath USAG24, Schuett had registered over 400 other businesses to help avoid detection.
A total of $2.13 million has been locked in accounts at Bank of America, Ironstone, SunTrust, Regions Bank, BB&T, Iberia Bank and Royal Bank of Canada. Judges have asked that all withdrawals from these accounts be blocked until the investigation can be concluded.
Money laundering, or concealing the source of monies by passing it through intermediary accounts, is illegal in the United States. Schuett found customers easily, since American gambling laws make it difficult for US players to fund their online gambling accounts. By taking advantage of Schuett’s services, players hoped to make their online gambling experience easier and safer.
Schuett is a German national whose visa expires in April. He is now being held without bond in Lee County jail after a federal judge ruled that he was a flight risk.