NETeller co-founder pleads guilty

Mt. Rushmore

It's been a long six months for NETeller co-founders Stephen Lawrence and John Lefebvre.

Arrested on the same day back in January - Lawrence in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Lefebvre in Malibu, Calif. - the two have been free on $5 million bonds since then with impending charges for "conspiring to transfer funds for the purposes of illegal gambling."

But a resolution came one step closer Friday, as Lawrence appeared in Federal Court in Manhattan and pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal conspiracy.

"I came to understand," Lawrence told the Judge, "that providing payment services to online gambling Web sites serving customers in the United States was wrong."

His lawyers also said Lawrence had agreed to take partial responsibility for the $100 million the U.S. government is demanding in restitution.

Lawrence was again freed on bail and allowed to return to his home in the Bahamas until his sentencing, scheduled for October.

"Mr. Lawrence is very glad," his attorney Peter Neiman told reporters, "to have this episode over and is looking forward to moving on to the next stage in his life."

The maximum prison sentence facing Lawrence is now five years, but it is unclear whether he will actually serve any jail time, given his cooperation with authorities.

Lawrence is also free to travel around North America while awaiting sentencing.

Co-founder Lefevbre's case is still pending.

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