February preliminary hearing set for NETeller founders

NETeller founders John Lefebvre and Stephen Lawrence will face the U.S. government's charge that they laundered billions of dollars in offshore gambling profits at a preliminary hearing in New York next month.

The former executives of the online payment-processing company are currently out on $5 million bail but have been court ordered to stay in New York.

Lefebvre will appear in Manhattan Federal court Wednesday - the same court at which Lawrence appeared Friday - to have his bail terms reviewed.

The men are facing charges of conspiring to promote illegal gambling by processing cash transactions from U.S. customers to gambling companies overseas. According to financial records, NETeller conducted more than $7 million in financial transactions in 2005, mostly to online gaming companies.

If Lefebvre and Lawrence - both Canadians arrested on U.S. soil - are convicted they could each face up to 20 years in prison.

Following the arrests, NETeller announced it would no longer process U.S. money or create new accounts for residents of the country as of Jan. 18.

Lefebvre and Lawrence founded the company in 1999 in the Isle of Man and remain shareholders, but have reportedly cut operational ties with the business.

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