According to Feds, a Costa Rica-based gambling site was caught using Amazon’s gift cards to launder money.
US.- A Costa Rica-based gambling site named 5Dimes was accused of instructing its US based customers to purchase Amazon gift cards at retail stores in cash to fund their accounts, in an effort to evade the U.S. financial system. According to federal agents, 5Dimes also paid out winnings to U.S. customers in Amazon gift cards or in merchandise they picked out on Amazon.com.
The Department of Homeland Security along with the Philadelphia U.S. District Court applied for a grant of seizure to access more than US$150,000 stored in Amazon accounts associated with the site. The Department of Homeland Security estimates the total amount of cash that flowed through Amazon accounts linked to 5Dimes total as much as US$1.9 million.
The filing stated: “[T]he investigation has determined that 5Dimes has developed an alternative to the traditional online financial payment methods, which is unavailable to 5Dimes under federal law, in order to operate its illegal betting operation in the U.S. This illegal alternative relies on the use of [Amazon gift cards], in violation of Amazon’s terms of service.”
5Dimes does not charge a fee for users who fund their accounts with Amazon gift cards and the gambling site has instructed bettors to purchase these gift cards at a traditional retail store, in cash and email a photo of the card information along with a receipt. In addition, the company offers players a 10 percent bonus if they choose to receive their winnings in the form of Amazon gift cards added to their Amazon account. Furthermore, 5Dimes used the gift cards to purchase merchandise, such as 100 office chairs and 50 custom sweatshirts silkscreened with the 5Dimes logo.