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United States v. Hom
United States District Court for the Northern District of California
45 F. Supp. 3d 1175 (2014)
In 2006 and 2007, John Hom (defendant) participated in online gambling via two poker websites called PokerStars.com and PartyPoker.com. Both websites allowed Hom to deposit and withdraw funds. Hom used Fire-Pay.com, an online financial institution, to transfer money to and from the websites. The total combined funds in Hom’s website and FirePay accounts was at times over $10,000. PokerStars, PartyPoker, and FirePay were all located outside of the US, but PokerStars likely had accounts in the US. Under the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 (the act), individuals are required to file a Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report (FBAR) for foreign accounts that exceed $10,000 in the previous year. However, Hom did not file an FBAR until 2010, and he failed to include his FirePay account. Therefore, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (plaintiff) assessed Hom with civil penalties. Hom argued that the location of his accounts should be determined based on the geographic location of the actual funds and that it was possible that the funds were located in the US. However, the IRS argued that the location of Hom’s accounts should be determined based on the locations of the financial institutions and therefore that Hom’s accounts were in fact foreign because PokerStars, PartyPoker, and FirePay were all located outside of the US. The IRS moved for summary judgement.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Alsup, J.)
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