Information about the seizure of Quicktender by the DOJ, the relationship between PSI-Pay and ecoPayz with Quicktender, the people involved, and details of the scam.
Quicktender Gets Seized
May 25th was also the day management took down the QT/UMW websites and customers visiting the Quicktender website were left with this message: With regret, the Quicktender service has been discontinued. All account holders will be notified by email. At this time support stopped answering emails and customers were left with no one to contact. It is clear that their decision to dissolve their business was directly related to the events that occurred on May 23, 2011.
On May 23, 2011, U.S. Federal Officials in Maryland unsealed two indictments and seized 11 bank accounts and 10 Internet domain names. Two of these bank accounts were accounts that QT/UMW indirectly used to process payments for their U.S customers. These accounts were:
The name on these accounts Chargestream Ltd was the company that processed payments for QT/UMW customers. Evidence of this can be found in customer records of previous bank wires. Twoplustwo member WiltOnTilt said this, “I double checked a recent bank wire receipt form from my bank where I had received a bank wire in early April. Sure enough, the account number in item 10 above was the exact same bank number from the Netherlands and under the originator was the name CHARGESTREAM LTD”.
This is a copy of the bank wire initiated on his behalf by QT/UMW. You can see that the Chargestream account number, highlighted in red, is identical to the account seized in the Maryland indictment.
After the indictments were unsealed it was revealed that U.S. Officials established a fake payment processor called Linwood Payment Solutions. This business was established to identify and prosecute companies accepting and paying out funds to U.S customers who gamble online. During this investigation agents negotiated a contract to process payments for a company calling themselves, The Nemesis Group. After Linwood finalized a contract to provide processing services to Nemesis Group, they were instructed by a manager for the Nemesis Group to transfer funds to two accounts in the name of Chargestream. It was later determined that the Nemesis Group was conducting business as Chargestream Ltd. During the investigation a top manager for the Nemesis Group revealed that they had been running an e-wallet under the name EcoCard for approximately five years. Right now it is called ecoPayz or www.ecopayz.com.
EcoCard is a brand name of PsiPay Ltd. PsiPay is a UK-based company (company number: 05899168) whose registered office is at 42-46 High Street, Esher, Surrey. KT10 9QY. PsiPay is authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Authority in the United Kingdom as an E-money Issuer (FSA Reference Number 481195). PsiPay has received approval to ‘passport’ its’ services across the European Economic Area (EEA).
After the passing of the UIGEA EcoCard announced they would be pulling out of the U.S. gaming market. David Brickman, a representative for the online casino The Jackpot Factory, said this “EcoCard has informed us, and I’m sure other casinos as well, that they will be pulling out of the U.S. gaming market and replacing their EcoCard payment option with a new option,” “They will transfer their existing U.S. customers over. Only players who have accumulated $500 or more in transactions will be invited to move to the new payment method.” The effective date for this transition was Aug 24, 2007.
This was when QT/UMW, invitation only e-wallets, appeared and offered payment processing services to U.S customers. The QT/UMW websites had similar functionality, design and fee schedules to EcoCard. This is why it is widely believed that QT/UMW were secretly being run by the same company as EcoCard. The only difference was customers had to be invited to sign up for a QT/UMW account and could not just visit their website to register. Here is a link to an article that discusses the re-branding of EcoCard into Quicktender: http://www.compatiblepoker.com/poker-rumors/rebranding-ecocard-into-quicktender/476
A search of ecocard.com on the whorush.com website produces 3 domain records on ns1.ecocard.com, these domains are ecocard.com, usemywallet.com, and quicktender.com. We can only assume that all of these payment processors are operated by the same company, PsiPay.
PsiPay is an FSA regulated payment solutions provider for both individuals and corporate payments, providing online accounts and cards to facilitate a truly real time global economy. PsiPay provides end-to-end, account and card-based payment solutions that enable businesses to take control of payments. The PsiPay global platform has been facilitating online payments for over five years. The platform itself has been through a number of redevelopments to make it a robust, cutting edge, international Stored Value Payment Solution. PsiPay is regulated by the FSA under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and the EU Directive on electronic money. PsiPay is authorized by the Financial Services Authority to issue electronic money as a specialized electronic money issuer subject to regulatory requirements and supervision. (This information was taken directly form the PsiPay website.)
PSI-Pay Ltd Management Information
Paul Templeman - Chief Executive Officer and Founder
Providing the overall direction for PsiPay and its strong network of partnerships and solutions is Paul Templeman, who launched the Company in 2006 and continues to drive PsiPay’s success through unparalleled knowledge of the payment industry and strategic company positioning. As a key part in the Company’s product portfolio, Paul negotiated the acquisition of the EcoCard brand, a stored value internet based account platform.
Previously, as the Chief Executive Officer of Neteller UK, Paul, was instrumental in the successful IPO of the company, raising an initial £35m followed by a secondary placing of £219m. Paul steered the Company through the regulatory hurdles resulting in its successful application to become one of the very first e-money issuers to be authorized and regulated by the FSA under the EU E-Money Directive. Prior to this, Paul led the roll out of innovative payment solutions with Proc Cyber Services, a leading provider of payment solutions to the online gaming industry. He was formerly Business Development Director of Payment Trust, (now an RBS subsidiary), a payment processor offering sophisticated risk management solutions, whilst earlier in his career, Paul was Managing Director of Techad MK Ltd, where he negotiated the successful division and sale of the company to Danka and to Canon UK.
John Daw - Chief Finance Officer
John Daw has been part of PsiPay management team since 2008. John is qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte, and has more than 20 years of experience within the Financial Services industry.
Prior to joining the Company, John served as a Finance Director with the venture capital group Schroder Ventures (Permira) and subsequently left the group to set up his own payment processing organisation, founding the first European company to use the world ATM network for international money transfer. More recently, John created the Hertfordshire group of companies with interests in asset finance, telemarketing, and IT. At present, John Daw is responsible for both the financial management of PsiPay and all matters relating to FSA regulations and MasterCard.
Dennis Staines - Chief Technology Officer
Dennis Staines has more than 30 years of experience in Information Technology. Dennis started his career in IT with Wang and Data General and then he has been working for a number of specialist payment companies including Clear Commerce, ProcCyber (DataCash), IvoBank, and Neteller, where he was the CTO of Neteller UK.
Dennis Staines has an expert knowledge of solution design, transaction processing and credit card fraud, and therefore he is ideally placed to propel the PsiPay platform to the forefront of the global payments industry.
John Briggs - General Manager
John Briggs’s current role is PsiPay’s General Manager, where he is responsible for compliance, risk and security and product development. John has over 25 years of experience working within the international payments industry, beginning his career with American Express and then joining Visa International where he held management positions in EMEA VisaNet Sales and Marketing and EU acceptance. John then joined CyberCash, who were pioneers in internet card processing, micro payments and w-wallet technology, as UK Managing Director.
More recently he occupied the role of Managing Director of TrustMarque, a market leader in providing fraud detection services for high risk internet merchants, and following the successful sale of TrustMarque to the Royal Bank of Scotland, John founded Centurion Consulting Services to provide advisory consulting services in payment technology. John Briggs’s academic background includes an MBA from the University of Brighton.
Relationship Between PSI-Pay, ecoPayz and Quicktender, Chargestream
In financial documents posted on twoplustwo.com, by WiltOnTilt, we know that Chargestream Ltd, the company who's bank accounts were seized in the Netherlands, changed there company name to Nationwide Payments Ltd on May 23, 2011. These documents revealed that John Briggs and Paul Templeman, executives of PsiPay are also equal owners of Chargestream Ltd and Nationwide Payments Ltd.
A search on robtex.com also revealed that chargestream.com, nemesis-group.com, psi-holdings.com and psipay.com are all hosted on the same IP address, 126.96.36.199.
Based on all of this information it is obvious that these companies were working with each other in some capacity to process payments for U.S. Customers up until the events of May 23, 2011:
- Nemesis Group
- Chargestream Ltd now Nationwide Payments Ltd
- PsiPay Ltd
- UseMyWallet Ltd
- QuickTender Ltd
- EcoCard (now known as ecoPayz)
Summary of the Scam Committed:
As indicated by publically available documentation, it is actually John Daw and the PSI-Pay family of companies whose integrity is worthy of inquiry. While, during our dialogue, Mr. Daw asserted that there was no legal connection between ChargeStream and QuickTender, and that he was not aware where Mr. Aleksandrovski’s funds might be located, such claims have shown to be entirely insincere. The affairs of Daw, his business partners Paul Templeman and John Briggs, and the companies of which they are current or former directors and shareholders - PSI-Pay, ChargeStream, QuickTender, UseMyWallet, and EcoCard - present an interrelated web of deceit and manipulation. Mounting evidence suggests the complexities of this corporate hierarchy were implemented purposefully as a means to ensure the longevity of their illegal enterprises, and to insulate these named individuals from governmental reproach.
A recent affidavit of the United States government has helped shed light on the nature and relation of these institutions. In the “Linwood Affidavit,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) set up a simulated processing company called “Linwood” (a.k.a. http://paymentprocessingsolutions.com/), going undercover to better understand how the payment processing industry operates. During the investigation, the DOJ seized a number of bank accounts, including one, number 0243058780, in the name of Chargestream Ltd. at ABN AMRO Bank NV located in the Netherlands. The affidavit indicates that ownership of the account belonged to both ChargeStream and EcoCard. EcoCard is the parent company of
QuickTender/UseMyWallet, and EcoCard itself is a PSI-Pay Company. The co- ownership of this bank account is highly indicative of legal and fiduciary relationships between the two entities. The fact that the shareholders of these institutions are made up of primarily the same individuals is further illustrative of such a point.
Quicktender and Customer Relations
Quicktender and Usemywallet were e-wallets/payment processors that shut down their websites on May 25, 2011. At this time they also ceased all communication with their customers, effectively dissolving their business. Quicktender (QT) and Usemywallet (UMW) were a single entity that operated their business through two websites, quicktender.com and usemywallet.com. Their customers were primarily residents in the United States. After the passage of the UIGEA in 2006, they were one of the few payment processors that offered services to U.S. residents.
In the weeks leading up to the shutdown problems surfaced with several QT/UMW customer withdrawal requests. Problems were first reported around May 10th on the twoplustwo.com website. Customers were reporting that bank wire withdrawals through QT/UMW were not reaching their bank accounts. After receiving several complaints QT/UMW management began to investigate the issue and sent out this email:
Thank you for contacting the QuickTender Settlement Department.
Please be informed that your withdrawal request has been processed according to your instructions. We are however sorry to inform you that there was an unfortunate delay of the payment processing at our bank ABN AMRO Bank due to their local holidays last week (Netherlands).
If the payment instructions you have registered on your QuickTender account are correct your payment should hit your account this week.
Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconveniences.
QuickTender Settlement Department
Fax: +44 (0)870 626 9684
Upon further investigation management figured out the problem was more serious than just a delay due to banking holidays and sent out this email:
Please be advised that there was an issue with your recent withdrawal request, which has not been processed by the US bank. Our management is currently working with our bank in order to investigate and resolve the issue.
Unfortunately, we are unable to provide you with a definite time frame when your withdrawal is to be expected at your Bank Account at this time.
This situation is beyond our control as it relates to the onward transmission of funds transmitted by our European banking partner.
Please be advised that we will do everything we can to resolve this situation.
QuickTender Settlement Department
Fax: +44 (0)870 626 9684
On May 18, 2011 QT/UMW released this statement:
The management of Quicktender would like to make the following statement regarding the current situation with UseMyWallet/Quicktender withdrawals:
We have operated a reputable and reliable payment mechanism for US customers since 2006. Our reputation is important to us, and until recently there has never been any question that players and merchants would be paid. In order to achieve this, we have built over many years relationships with payment intermediaries that share our values of honesty and integrity. In the jurisdictions from which we offer our services we are proud to be properly licensed and constituted, and have even worked with US law enforcement on occasions where criminal activity has been identified.
However, we cannot always predict some of the vagaries of the US administration. Over the past 2 weeks we have in good faith transmitted withdrawals initiated by Quicktender account holders to beneficiary bank accounts in the US. The money left our account in Europe. It was only in response to increasing complaints from our customers that we recognized there was a problem, and asked our bank to investigate. It emerges that the money has been accumulated in our bank's correspondent banking partners accounts in the US, and has been frozen. We suspect it is possible that these funds may be subject to a seizure order by the US authorities. We would stress that we do not have bank accounts in the US of our own, and that the funds have left our account Europe.
It is our express intention to ensure that the funds of our account holders are safe. For this reason we have decided to suspend future withdrawals until we understand what has happened to the money that has been frozen. If we continue to transmit bank wires into the US we could find that these funds also do not reach their ultimate beneficiaries. This would simply make the problem worse.
We ask our customers to bear with us in these difficult times. Please be assured that we have always honored our obligations in the past, and that we will make every effort to overcome these current difficulties. It is not in the interests of anybody to attempt to financially impact QuickTender further. These actions may impact the future viability of the company and the ability of the company to pay its customers. We are assessing our current exposure, and how best to reintroduce withdrawals safely.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers for their past loyalty, and to reiterate that we will take all possible steps to ensure that our customers money is secure.
On May 20, 2011 QT/UMW customers that did not receive their requested bank wires had their funds returned to their accounts as cleared or uncleared. At this time QT/UMW disabled bank wire withdrawals but were still processing payments to merchants. Customers that had cleared funds returned to their accounts were able to access these funds and transfer them to merchants that accepted QT/UMW deposits. Customers that had uncleared funds returned to their accounts were unable to access them because QT/UMW could not locate the funds. Through correspondence with QT/UMW support, customers were told that these funds would be uncleared and available for use once they were able to locate and retrieve the funds. QT/UMW sent out this email to explain the situation:
As your recent QuickTender withdrawal MTCN WDxxxxxxx of $xx,xxx.xx was not received into your nominated bank account we will be putting it shortly under the “Uncleared Balance” to your QuickTender Account xxxxxxxxxx.
We are communicating with our bank to find out where your funds are currently located and why they have not been processed. The funds were transmitted by us in good faith through a major European bank, and have left our account. We understand that the money has been frozen in the US banking system, and you will appreciate that this is entirely beyond our control.
We fully acknowledge you are the rightful owner of these funds. We will fully support your recovery of these funds and provide further details as soon as we can assist.
Any remaining funds in your QuickTender account can still be used to purchase at QuickTender accepting sites. In addition we are working hard to reinstate our withdrawal facility and so when this is in place you will be able to make a new withdrawal.
Please be assured these remaining funds in your QuickTender account are safe and secure and we appreciate your continued support. We apologize for the inconvenience that this delay has caused you.
QuickTender Support Team
On Wednesday May 25, 2011 customers received this final email:
Since our last email communication where we advised any funds in your QuickTender account could still be used to purchase at QuickTender accepting sites we had been working hard to reinstate our withdrawal facility and ensuring your funds where safe and secure.
However, further developments specifically relating to our main bank processing company have resulted in our accounts being frozen subject to a seizure order giving us no ability to make payments in any currency.
In light of these developments we have had no option but to discontinue the Quicktender service with immediate effect and for the foreseeable future.
At this time we are unable to confirm when or if we could make payments of remaining balances.
We will keep you advised of future relevant developments.
While we realize that QT/UMW could have simply stolen their customer’s funds, there were many actions taken by QT/UMW to refute this argument. Based on customer testimonials we know a few customers that requested bank wires in early May, while problems were arising and before withdrawals were completely shutdown, had them processed without problems and their funds were deposited into their bank accounts. We also know that some funds were returned to customer accounts as cleared and these customers were then able to move them to merchants that accepted QT/UMW deposits. Customers were also able to deposit into their QT/UMW accounts with credit cards and move these deposits to a participating merchant.
These actions lead us to believe that QT/UMW were being truthful in their email correspondence, in which they claimed, “The funds were transmitted by us in good faith through a major European bank, and have left our account. We understand that the money has been frozen in the US banking system, and you will appreciate that this is entirely beyond our control.” While this does not mean QT/UMW did not steal any customer funds, we truly believe that most, if not all of the missing funds are frozen in the aforementioned bank accounts.
We are submitting this report with the hopes that it will facilitate your investigation and the subsequent return of customer funds. Customers that had cleared funds in their QT/UMW accounts and failed to move them before they shutdown, will have a more difficult time determining the location of their funds. This can probably only be done with the recovery of the data on the QT/UMW system hard drives. However, customers that initiated withdrawals and never received their funds and did not have their funds returned to their QT/UMW accounts as cleared, were sent these emails when they submitted their initial withdrawal request:
We are writing with regard to the withdrawal you have submitted from your QuickTender account on (5/3/2011) under the MTCN number (xxxxxxx #). We are pleased to confirm that the wire of xxxxx.00 has been sent from our account today, on (5/6/2011) according to the bank details you have registered in your Payment Options. Please expect the funds in 3-5 business days to reach your account.
Please be informed that our fee for the withdrawal is $30.00 flat fee. But please be aware that correspondent banks may take their fees and charges for international transfers as well.
If you have any questions regarding withdrawals, please contact the QuickTender Help Desk. Please make sure that you have your QuickTender username and/or account number available to quote on any correspondence.
Fax: +44 870 626 9684