United States court dockets do not see too many defendants like John David Lefebvre and Stephen Eric Lawrence. In 2007, Lefebvre was a 56-year old environmental advocate and musician who had just released a double CD of original works and was best known to his friends as a happy-go-lucky hippie. Stephen Eric Lawrence was the head of the two-year old Lawrence Family Charitable Foundation in the Bahamas where he personally helped serve more than 250 meals a week for the homeless.
But both men, Canadian citizens, were charged by the United States government with money laundering billions of dollars. Their crime was to found NETeller to transmit electronic payments in 1999. The company was based in the Isle of Man and publicly traded in the United Kingdom but did most of its business in the United States. In the early days of Internet gambling the company and online casinos were practically one in the same.
In 2005, according to company reports seized by the government, NETeller processed $7.3 billion in financial transactions and 95% of that business involved Internet gambling. The company’s annual report asserted that NETeller was providing payment services to more than 80% of the world’s gaming merchants. The vast majority of that business was generated in North America – more than 85%. And more than three-quarters of that revenue was from American gamblers.
Which was not legal. An inconvenience admitted in a plea deal by Lefebvre and Lawrence which cost the businessmen more than $100 million but kept them out of jail. The monies of online gamblers in American accounts were frozen but eventually released. The founders had divested themselves of NETeller several years before and, although temporarily crippled, the company dusted themselves off, abandoned the American market, and is still a trusted giant of the e-wallet industry among worldwide gamblers.
How to Get Started with NETeller
Create an account at the NETeller website which is free and does not require any personal financial information. Money flows into the account by credit card, debit card, wire transfer or prepaid card. Credit cards and debit card deposits show up instantly for play; other methods may require several or more business days. There are no transactional NETeller fees for deposits and withdrawals but online casinos may pass along their own processing costs.
NETeller has teamed with Discover Card to offer the Net+ prepaid card that functions like a traditional debit or credit card with an important difference – you can only spend the money that has been loaded on the card.
Finding a NETeller Casino
Since the nasty business with the United States government NETeller has taken pains to diversify its business portfolio. Obviously American accounts are no longer permitted and customers in Canada, Hong Kong, Israel and Macau are also not allowed to fund casino accounts through NETeller. Beyond that, the money transfer service is still available for the rest of the world (200-plus countries) and as popular as ever with online gamers.
Why Use a NETeller Casino?
While the federal agents and prosecutors of the United States may consider electronic wallets like NETeller to be at the core of illegal money laundering operations, the company has been the industry standard for financial transactions longer than anyone else. NETeller does not leak any financial information to casinos and players enjoy complete anonymity. The company provides security through a patented online payment system. And there is no charge for this service, at least on behalf of the third party processor. These days NETeller is understandably loathe to promote it, but they still do transfers of online gambling funds as well as anybody.