Amazon Gift Cards Used In $2M Offshore Gambling Ring

Is there anything Amazon can’t do for the consumers of the world? Toys, clothes, shipping, cloud storage, electronics, the salty tears of Walmart executives — these are things you knew Amazon could bring into your life.

But what if you need to run a multi-million dollar offshore illegal gambling setup?

Good news. Amazon also has uses there.

Or, at least, its gift cards do, if recent reports are to be believed. As it turns out, the enterprising souls in charge of an offshore gambling site needed a method to launder $2 million over the last few years, and Amazon gift cards were the solution they turned to, according to a warrant application recently filed by the Department of Homeland Security.

According to the filing, the Costa Rica-based site 5Dimes instructed customers based in the United States that Amazon gift cards were the preferred method of paying for their sports betting. In addition, winnings were paid out to U.S. residents in Amazon gift cards or in merchandise.

“[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.,” the filing reads. “This illegal alternative relies on the use of [Amazon gift cards], in violation of Amazon’s terms of service.”

The gambling site does not charge a fee for gamblers who use Amazon cards and offers a 10 percent bonus to those who take their payout in Amazon cards. Because, yes, everyone has a discount-based loyalty program these days.

All in, the DHS is looking to seize $159,000 spread among 15 Amazon accounts believed to be owned or operated by 5Dimes.

An Amazon spokesman declined to comment, according to Re/code. The betting site did not respond to a message sent to a company email account.


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