On Wednesday, the U.S. Justice Department reached an agreement with 5Dimes that would force the Puerto Rican sports betting operator to pay $45 million in fines for illegal sports betting operations in the U.S.
The investigation began in 2016 with the Feds trying to figure out if 5Dimes was illegally operating in the U.S. Well, that turned out to be true. Now, 5Dimes is looking to enter the U.S. market legally after filing incorporation papers in Delaware.
“It has been a very difficult two years for me and my family,” said Laura Varela, widow of 5Dimes founder William Sean “Tony” Creighton. “But today marks a pivotal turning point and a fresh start for me and the 5Dimes brand, as well as a milestone for the legalization of sports gaming in the U.S. My husband’s death was tragic, but he loved 5Dimes and all of its loyal customers. Now his spirit will be able to live on as the 5Dimes brand begins this new chapter.”
Creighton was kidnapped and murdered in 2018, and his body was not found until 2019. 5Dimes was already under investigation at the time, which was when Varela took over the sports betting operations.
What Did 5Dimes Do Wrong?
The U.S. Justice Department traced $46.8 million in illegal money transfers in and out of the U.S. 5Dimes had multiple Title 18 violations under the U.S. code. 5Dimes settled and agreed to “acknowledged that those funds are the proceeds of various unlawful gambling-related offenses.”
Some of the violations included wire transfer, money laundering, and illegal gambling operations. The only thing that 5Dimes may have got away with are corporate tax violations as the U.S. Attorney’s Office cannot track.
The U.S. does view this as a victory with the settlement. Money laundering has become more sophisticated over the years, and the Attorney’s Office was able to track down how 5Dimes was operating illegal sports betting operation in the states.
“Through our 5Dimes investigation, Homeland Security Investigations illuminated a massive global network of criminals whose profession was to launder proceeds for drug cartels, kleptocratic regimes, illegal mining operations, and fraudsters,” said Brian A. Michael, HSI’s special agent.
How to Get Your Money Back
Earlier this month, 5DImes released a statement saying that they were suspending 5Dimes operations in the U.S. due to the agreement between the Puerto Rican betting operator and the Attorney’s Office.
On September 21, 5Dimes officially suspended all U.S. accounts from placing any more bets and will stop servicing U.S. customers by September 30. Customers who do not request their funds by September 25 will have to reach out to the third-party 5Dimes hired to take over the requests.
From there, 5Dimes customers have until September 30, 2021, to claim any funds in their account. If the funds are not requested, then they will be forfeited to the U.S. government.
This at least gives U.S. customers plenty of time to get their money back from 5Dimes. With sports betting becoming legal across the U.S., some former 5Dimes customers may have switched over to legal U.S. accounts.
This will give them time to transfer their funds and possibly use them in legal betting accounts here in the U.S.
Or they can wait and see if 5Dimes tries to enter the U.S. legally and use the money then.