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More Bad News for Brazzers- Government Seizure of $6.4 M Stands for Now

Back in March, Mansef, Inc., the parent company of Brazzers said that the U.S. government had “significantly harmed” its operations when it seized millions that were used to facilitate vendor payments from third-party credit card processors.

Mansef Inc., a Montreal-based company, also said it couldn’t properly make claims to the $6.4 million seized because the government is fending off the deposition of two Secret Service agents in the case who initiated the civil forfeiture case against Premium Services Inc., its Atlanta unit that facilitated payments.

U.S. authorities further claimed claim that $6.4 million in two Mansef Inc.-owned accounts was forfeitable under 18 U.S.C. § 981 (a)(1)(A) as property involved in or traceable to a transaction in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1960, which prohibits unlicensed money-transmitting businesses.

In an update of that story, US District judge Julie Carnes Tuesday denied Mansef Inc.’s request to dismiss the government’s seizure of $5.3M in funds after hearing over an hour of oral arguments from both sides at a status conference in Atlanta.

According to a story reported on by www.xbiz.com, the seizure is the first of two the government has applied to Brazzers’ parent company. Another civil seizure suit amounts to $1.1 million.

According to the story, Mansef set up an Atlanta company last year called Premium Services Inc. to facilitate payments from its third-party credit card processors into the accounts and to allow the company to remit funds out of two checking accounts to its U.S. vendors.

The Secret Service, on the other hand, claims in both suits filed at U.S. District Court in Atlanta that Premium Services was not registered with the federal Treasury Department nor with the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance as a money-transmitting business.

The government noted that Premium Services has no known office building nor employees and operates at a mail drop called The Mail Room.

Federal authorities say in the complaint that for three months last year Premium Services received $9.4 million in wire transfers from various sources and that much of the funds originated overseas in countries such as Israel, considered by law enforcement to be at high risk for money-laundering activity.

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