The United States Department of Justice settled a forfeiture controversy with William Paul Scott, forfeiting $6,976,924.00, seized from the Royal Bank of Scotland International as an amount roughly equivalent to what Scott’s company held in its foreign account when U.S. authorities first pursued the funds. Incident to the settlement, Scott was convicted of one count of conspiracy to violate the Wire Act and three counts of international money laundering. Prosecutors accused Scott, a resident of Antigua and former U.S. citizen, of making online gambling available to U.S. citizens. While such gambling is legal in Antigua, U.S. prosecutors nonetheless maintain that it is illegal if accessible and/or targeted to U.S. citizens.
The ability for the U.S. Government to reach the foreign accounts of a foreign national, accused of U.S. crimes, springs from a provision of the Patriot Act, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 981(k). The “statute provides that forfeitable funds on deposit at a foreign financial institution that has an eligible interbank account in the United States “shall be deemed to have been deposited into the interbank account in the United States, and any . . . arrest warrant in rem regarding the funds may be served on the covered financial institution, and funds in the interbank account . . . may be restrained, seized, or arrested.”” U.S. v. $6,976,934.65, Held in the Name of Soulbury, 554 F.3d 123, 125 (2009).