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Reason Suggests DoJ Closing Porn Stars' Bank Accounts 548

Posted by timothy
from the moral-crisis dept.
MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) writes "In a recent story on reason.com it was reported that the DoJ is closing down the bank accounts of porn stars. Not knowing the site I googled around and found another site, the Guardian. The story does not end there. It turns out that this is part of a larger scheme (ironically) called Operation Choke Point. Also reported in a Washington Post article that downplays the practice. According to Cryptocoin news. There are thirty industries the DoJ is now targeteting: Ammunition Sales; Cable Box De-scramblers; Coin Dealers; Credit Card Schemes; Credit Repair Services; Dating Services; Debt Consolidation Scams; Drug Paraphernalia; Escort Services; Firearms Sales; Fireworks Sales; Get Rich Products; Government Grants; Home-Based Charities; Life-Time Guarantees; Life-Time Memberships; Lottery Sales; Mailing Lists/Personal Info; Money Transfer Networks; On-line Gambling; PayDay Loans; Pharmaceutical Sales; Ponzi Schemes; Pornography; Pyramid-Type Sales; Racist Materials; Surveillance Equipment; Telemarketing; Tobacco Sales; and Travel Clubs. But more can be added. (I notice alcohol sales is not on the list)." The Reason article stops short of saying that Choke Point is proven to be the reason for the account closures, but it seems very plausible.
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Reason Suggests DoJ Closing Porn Stars' Bank Accounts

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  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Friday May 02, 2014 @07:12PM (#46904555)
    I'm not making any claims, I'm just making an observation:

    Some of the things on DoJ's "Laundry List" of so-called "high financial risk" businesses are historically not high-risk AT ALL.

    Like ammunition and firearms. Far from being "high-risk": manufacturers and retailers have historically been both large and long-lived. There is an ammunition manufacturer not all that far from here and they have been in business for 60 years. And the vast majority of ammunition is sold through major sporting-goods franchises, not mom-and-pop shops. Same with firearms.

    Further, where people DO engage in small-scale ammunition or firearms sales or manufacturing, it is often a perfectly legitimate, specialty product. I know somebody who made and sold custom cartridges, and I have also met a guy who makes firearms. All perfectly legit and legal.

    So pardon me for saying so, and I don't want to be misunderstood as being some kind of right-wing nut or anything, but it kind of looks like some things on this list are in fact Obama agenda items. Which is illegal.
  • by gweihir (88907) on Friday May 02, 2014 @07:14PM (#46904579)

    And that is a problem. It makes sure people do not climb out of poverty, or at least makes it a lot harder. After all, cannot have people participating in normal society that the government deems "undesirables". Next steps: forbid them to work, then concentration camps, then gas chambers. National purity must be maintained at all cost!

  • Re:really??? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr D from 63 (3395377) on Friday May 02, 2014 @07:26PM (#46904641)
    Eric Holder: "I Have 'A Vast Amount' of Discretion in Enforcing Laws"
  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Friday May 02, 2014 @07:48PM (#46904773)

    The great aspect to the US legal system is it was shaped to protect from extrajudicial punishment and protects free speech, assembly, press, privacy and much more.

    Or at least, it's supposed to. The foundation is there.

    Check out 18 U.S.C. 242: "Deprivation of Rights Under the Color of Law".

    While many people think this is "just" a discrimination statute, a careful reading of the law shows that it applies to ALL Constitutional and natural rights.

    And government employees are not immune. Not even the President. (In fact, this statute was specifically intended to prevent government abuse.) The maximum penalty is life in prison.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Friday May 02, 2014 @07:50PM (#46904791)

    As with most stories on Slashdot these days, it's bullshit meant to make you scared and angry.

    prosecutors are investigating whether third-party processors that route payments for merchants through banks are ignoring signs of fraud to rake in fees from transactions.

    They're not trying to shut down porn -- what possible motive could they even have for that? They're trying to stop disreputable businesses from effectively robbing people a few nickels at a time. If innocent companies are getting caught in the crossfire, then the DOJ needs to do its job better. But quit hyperventilating. This is not some evil government plot to wipe out all of the fireworks stores and dating services in the country.

  • by The Snowman (116231) on Friday May 02, 2014 @08:18PM (#46904947) Homepage

    You won't find a right to a bank account in the Constitution.

    Which is fine: the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. [wikipedia.org]

    That you won't find the power to stop you from having a Bank Account in the Constitution is a fact that will be lost on the anti-drug "Goddamned Piece of Paper" Republicans and liberals.

    "General welfare" clause. It is the Silly Putty [wikipedia.org] of the Constitution: it can morph into any shape and justify any law or government action, even if other parts of the Constitution are at odds with it.

  • by Hangtime (19526) on Friday May 02, 2014 @08:31PM (#46905009) Homepage

    Frank Keating, former governor of Oklahoma and FBI agent who is now head of the American Banker's Association came out against Choke Point in a WSJ op-ed a week ago.

    http://online.wsj.com/news/art... [wsj.com]

    When you become a banker, no one issues you a badge, nor are you fitted for a judicial robe. So why is the Justice Department telling bankers to behave like policemen and judges? Justice's new probe, known as "Operation Choke Point," is asking banks to identify customers who may be breaking the law or simply doing something government officials don't like. Banks must then "choke off" those customers' access to financial services, shutting down their accounts.

    Justice launched the effort in early 2013 as a policy initiative of the president's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which includes the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other regulatory agencies. Though details are scant—much of the investigation has been conducted in secret—the probe aims to crack down on fraud in the payments system by focusing on banks that service online payday lenders and other services deemed suspicious by the government....

  • Re: really??? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 02, 2014 @08:37PM (#46905047)

    It's much worse, no they just barge into yu home withou knocking and shoot you dead.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/9-horrifying-botched-police-raids-2012-2?op=1
    http://www.cato.org/raidmap

  • by alen (225700) on Friday May 02, 2014 @09:50PM (#46905477)

    google it
    chase closed a few accounts
    the porn people went on twitter and a lot of their friends closed their chase accounts in protest
    in reality it was a few accounts

  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Friday May 02, 2014 @10:22PM (#46905637)

    There are no implications: everything from the summary to the circle of links is speculation. noone knows anything for sure, but that hasnt stopped wild theories based on other wild theories based on a WSJ article.

    DoJ is encouraging banks to close bank accounts of risky actors. We have no reason at this point to believe that means "kill all pornstar bank accounts", especially since there are apparently only 2 or 3 porn stars experiencing this. Strangely enough none of them are big names. Its almost like someones trying to create a story where there is none.

  • by Mantrid42 (972953) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @12:41AM (#46906163)
    Here you go: https://news.vice.com/article/... [vice.com] They talked to a few porn stars who had this happen in the article.
  • by Pseudonym (62607) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @02:51AM (#46906463)

    You don't need total confiscation. When you need to crack down on citizens, all you need is [A] that they don't own handguns (because those are primarily defensive weapons), and [B] that all other weapons are registered.

    It's easier to just convince gun owners that whoever is the target of tyranny is their enemy too. This is how the US government got away rounding up US citizens and putting them in internment camps.

    Oh, also convince them that "we" respect your rights (as we're collecting all your phone calls) and "they" are trying to take your guns away (even though they're not). That shit always works.

  • Re:How risky? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Aighearach (97333) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @04:46AM (#46906735) Homepage

    Porn stars are risky because porn sales are risky, and porn companies have trouble maintaining merchant accounts for credit card processing. This leads to a high rate of "personal" accounts being used as business accounts, and then used to open merchant accounts; often with misleading or erroneous service types listed.

    It is simply a fact that all sorts of "adult" companies have a high rate of charge-backs. This puts the companies involved under pressure and difficulty, so all sorts of related fraud and non-compliance with terms happens. Being associated with this sort of "high risk" industry makes it more likely that a bank will have some sort of related problem with your account.

    Personally, I would like to see a government-run bank that only offered deposit accounts and checking services; nothing else. With account numbers that can't be used to sign up to merchant services or anything like that. That way everybody would have access to a basic banking services provider of last resort.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @01:54PM (#46909163)

    In my opinion (and I guess I agree with at least some others), guns are offensive weapons

    80+ years of official Unites States Government statistics disagree with you.

    For early years those statistics can be obtained from the Department of Justice. For more recent years, the Bureau of Crime Statistics.

    I am rather amused that someone is using, as a supporting argument, the testimony of a sole person in the farthest Left and most pro-gun-control state of all 50.

    Most police and sheriff's departments, and even police unions and organizations, say that handguns are the defensive weapon of choice, and support private ownership of handguns.

    By the way: major crimes in this country are DOWN a full 50% from 20 years ago, and even more compared to 30 years ago. During that entire time, per-capita gun ownership (including handguns) has gone steadily up, [postimg.org]and "concealed carry" has virtually exploded over that same period. Watch that chart for a moment. (Note: blue in that chart very much does NOT mean "blue state".)

    If concealed handguns aren't being used "defensively", then what are they all being used for? Whatever it is, it sure isn't crime.

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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