вторник, 1 мая 2007 г.

2 Brevard men face laundering charges

FLORIDA TODAY (опубликовано 29.04.2007)

Two Brevard County men and two digital currency businesses they operated in Melbourne have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington, accused of running an unregulated financial network that catered to criminals moving money.

Tuesday's four-count indictment, made public Friday, charged e-gold Ltd., Gold & Silver Reserve Inc. and owners Dr. Douglas L. Jackson, 50, of Satellite Beach; his brother Reid A. Jackson, 44, of Melbourne; and Barry K. Downey, 47, of Woodbine, Md., with four crimes involving conspiring to launder monetary instruments or operating unlicensed money-transmitting businesses from 1999 to December 2005.

E-gold, incorporated on the Caribbean island of Nevis but based in Melbourne, began offering Internet services in 1996. Gold & Silver Reserve Inc. operated e-gold and its Web site and offered a currency exchange called OmniPay. Services included checking, bill-paying and money transfers.

The indictment charged that the company's digital currency functioned as an alternative payment system and was purportedly backed by stored physical gold, which investigators said was on deposit in Dubai and Switzerland.

Customers needed only to provide an e-mail address to open an account and that no other customer information was verified, according to court papers. The indictment accused some customers of using fictitious names such as "Mickey Mouse," "Donald Duck" and "No Name" and could conduct international transactions without any government oversight.

In September, Douglas Jackson, a former oncologist, testified before a U.S. House subcommittee that his companies helped combat child-pornography payments by sharing information with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He complained that Secret Service officials had rebuffed his contacts since 2001.

Jackson also testified that e-gold had completed more than 67 million transactions, processed up to 70,000 daily account transfers exceeding $2 billion annually. E-gold, he said, had more than $68 million in gold on deposit at the time at London Bullion Market Association member repositories. Its Web site claims more than 4 million accounts.

The charges follow a December 2005 raid on the company's offices and seizure of electronic records detailing millions of accounts, said James Glendinning, of the Secret Service's Orlando office. The probe, he said, was a spinoff of a 2004 international crackdown on Internet identity thieves who also used e-gold to receive payments.

A call to the company was not returned Friday afternoon. The Jacksons and Downey could not be reached for comment.

"Douglas Jackson and his associates operated a sophisticated and widespread international money-remitting business, unsupervised and unregulated by any entity in the world, which allowed for anonymous transfers of value at a click of a mouse," said Jeffrey Taylor, the U.S. attorney for Washington.

Taylor said the three suspects are expected to surrender for a hearing in Washington in the next few weeks.

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