A former top executive of Neteller, one of the biggest online payment processing companies in the world, pleaded guilty Friday in a federal courtroom in Manhattan, to a charge of criminal conspiracy regarding gambling funds.
Stephen Lawrence, one of Neteller's co-founders and chairman, admitted that the operation was illegal.
Neteller's activity – processing billions of dollars in transactions between U.S. citizens and offshore online gambling sites – was acknowledged by Lawrence to be unlawful.
"I came to understand that providing payment services to online gambling websites serving customers in the United States was wrong.", said Lawrence in the New York court.
According to his lawyers, Lawrence is cooperating with the U.S. government over the matter and has also holds himself partly responsible for the $100 million the government is seeking in restitution from Neteller.Lawrence and fellow Canadian, John David Lefebvre, another Neteller co-founder, were arrested in January as part of a U.S. crackdown on the online gambling industry.