5Dimes Casino Accused of Using Amazon Gift Cards to Evade US Officials
5Dimes, a sportsbook based out of Costa Rica, has been accused by US Homeland Security of instructing American sports gamblers to make payments. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officially filed a motion with the US District Court in Philadelphia to have 15 Amazon accounts seized, because the DHS believes they are connected to 5Dimes.
The warrant says the accounts hold an estimated $159,000 in funds between the 15 of them right now, but a total of $1.9 million has passed through them throughout the history.
Re/code Reports on Gift Cards
Re/code also has reported that Amazon shut down one of the 15 accounts, which is said to be registered under the name “GC Lover”. Members of the 5Dimes sports betting community are said to have been paid in Amazon giftcards, or with merchandise bought off the website. The story says that the transaction are said to be “in violation of Amazon’s terms of service”.
How the Gift Card Ploy Worked
The players were told they should buy Amazon gift cards in local retail stores using cash. Then the players were instructed to provide digital copies of the cards to 5Dimes, who could then process payments that way. Anyone willing to accept payment in Amazon gift cards were told they would receive a 10% bonus on the deposits they made.
The net seems to be closing on 5Dimes, despite its location in Central America. A recent report by the Costa Rican media outlet, Nacion.com, suggested a local 5Dimes manager was involved in a “money laundering operation”. The report by Nacion Dotcom claimed 35-year old Marisol Carvajal Cordero, described as a local manager of 5Dimes, had had her accounts closed down by Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) in November 2015.
Apparently, BCR could not verify the source of income for those accounts. Given the large amount of money transferred through them, this was suspicious activity to the bank.
$1.53 Billion in Funds
According to the report, a total of $1.53 billion was transferred to the BCR accounts from Carvajal-controlled companies based in Dubai and Malta in 2014. A significant portion of that money was then transferred to the 5Dimes parent company, Red Planet SA. BCR could not reconcile that amount of money with the managerial status of Marisol Carvajal Cordero.
A full $67 million was moved to the Latinamerica Trust & Escrow Company SA (Latco), which is said to have been set up to handle “real estate administration” in Costa Rica. The $67 million was moved using 25 transactions to the bank accounts in Malta and Dubai from various bank accounts in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain.
About 30% of the sixty-seven million was transferred to accounts in Panama and Peru. Another 67% was transferred to Latco accounts in Costa Rica. The remaining 3% was sent to others with cashier’s check.
The investigation found that a man named Manfred Pino holds the bulk of Latco’s stock (87%). Mr. Pino’s wife owns the remaining 13%. Also, Jennifer Morsink is listed as Latco’s treasurer and a director.
Manfred Pino spoke on the record, claiming that the probe came as a result of a dispute between BCR president Paola Mora Tumminelli and Jennifer Morsink. Pino said that Mr. Mora Tumminelli believe Morsink had been an anonymous conflict of interest complaint which had been filed.
Intrigues at Latco
Latco’s president gave Morsink a limited time to fess up to filing the complaint or risk have the account probed by the bank. Eventually, BCR gave Mora Tumminelli only 72 hours to file the proper documentation.
No one in Costa Rica has been charged, but those intrigues seem to have spurred Homeland Security to action. Though sports betting is legal in Nevada, the 1992 PASPA law makes sports betting illegal in most other places, while the 1961 Wire Act makes sports betting illegal over phone lines and the Internet.
It’s fascinating to see the curtain pulled back on 5-Dimes Sportsbook, because the site has the best reputation among the US-friendly sportsbooks. 5Dimes offers reliable payouts, which is the key to establishing a rep as a legitimate online gaming site. The site includes an online casino, poker room, and bingo hall, which are considered to be among the best sites in the somewhat devoid US market.