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USA Online Poker Indictment – Live Updates – Poker Stars + Full Tilt

Apr 16, 2011

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USA Online Poker

The seriousness of indictments against the biggest online poker sites in the world will leave millions of USA online poker players in a lurch and out of their account balances.

In this sad tale there are no good or bad guys, just tens of millions of USA poker players who may never again see a penny of their online balances, and whose freedom to play online poker, a game of skill, has been taken away by prosecutors controlled by hypocritical elected politicians.

There will also be a number of people going to prison or paying enormous fines. Whether they are innocent or guilty, every one of the 11 people indicted will plead guilty to a lesser charge instead of risking a trial and even a remote chance of spending 15-85 years in prison. Online casinos offering blackjack card games were not part of the indictment.

On Friday April 15, the owners of all three of the mammoths of the live cash online poker industry: Poker Stars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker, were indicted on an avalanche of very serious criminal charges. The USA Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted 7 USA citizens, 3 Canadians and 1 Isle of Man resident in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) – the most powerful prosecutorial district of the US Federal Government.

The SDNY prosecutors don’t bluff or pray for lucky cards. They don’t indict unless they are holding a Royal Flush to use a poker analogy and never use losing blackjack strategies either. They are relentless in their pursuit. International terrorists, gang leaders, pirates, mafia bosses and Wall Street traders will all agree with that assessment from the insides of maximum security Federal Prisons which pepper the landscape of the United States of America.

As of Saturday 2pm (New York Time) this is the situation:

• 75 bank accounts belonging to the poker sites and their payment processors have been frozen by the DOJ.
• 5 domains of the three poker sites (.com) were seized by DOJ.
• Real money play suspended from USA by all three poker sites.
• The three poker sites operating on .eu or .uk domains.
• Partnership between Wynn Resorts of Las Vegas and Poker Stars is dead.
• Partnership between Fertitta Interactive (UFC) owners and Full Tilt is dead.
• USA Federal regulation of online poker is pushed back by years.
• Small possibility of USA players recovering deposits. The money is viewed by FBI as proceeds from an illegal activity.

The charges filed against the 11 individuals are extremely serious as can be seen by the chart below. Please note that these acts were ALLEGEDLY committed. The DOJ only accuses the individual below, and every single person is 100% INNOCENT until proven otherwise in a court.

Defendant Charges Total Max Penalty
ISAI SCHEINBERG

(PokerStars)

1] Conspiracy to Violate UIGEA
2] Violation of UIGEA (PS)
3] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (PS)
4] Conspiracy to Commit Bank & Wire Fraud
5] Money Laundering Conspiracy
65 Years in Prison
Fine twice the gross gain or loss
Forfeiture of proceeds of offense
     
RAYMOND BITAR

(Full Tilt)

1] Conspiracy to Violate UIGEA
2] Violation of UIGEA (FT)
3] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (FT)
4] Conspiracy to Commit Bank & Wire Fraud
5] Money Laundering Conspiracy
65 Years in Prison
Fine twice the gross gain or loss
Forfeiture of proceeds of offense
     
SCOTT TOM

(Absolute Poker)

1] Conspiracy to Violate UIGEA
2] Violation of UIGEA (AP)
3] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (AP)
15 Years in Prison
Fine twice the gross gain or loss
Forfeiture of proceeds of offense
     
BRENT BECKLEY

(Absolute Poker)

1] Conspiracy to Violate UIGEA
2] Violation of UIGEA (AP)
3] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (AP)
4] Conspiracy to Commit Bank & Wire Fraud
5] Money Laundering Conspiracy
65 Years in Prison
Fine twice the gross gain or loss
Forfeiture of proceeds of offense
     
NELSON BURTNICK

(Full Tilt)

1] Conspiracy to Violate UIGEA
2] Violation of UIGEA (PS)
3] Violation of UIGEA (FT)
4] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (PS)
5] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (FT)
6] Conspiracy to Commit Bank & Wire Fraud
7] Money Laundering Conspiracy
75 Years in Prison
Fine twice the gross gain or loss
Forfeiture of proceeds of offense
     
PAUL TATE

(Poker Stars)

1] Conspiracy to Violate UIGEA
2] Violation of UIGEA(PS)
3] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (PS)
4] Conspiracy to Commit Bank & Wire Fraud
5] Money Laundering Conspiracy
65 Years in Prison
Fine twice the gross gain or loss
Forfeiture of proceeds of offense
     
RYAN LANG

(Payment Processor)

1] Conspiracy to Violate UIGEA
2] Violation of UIGEA (PS)
3] Violation of UIGEA (FT)
4] Violation of UIGEA (AP)
5] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (PS)
6] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (FT)
7] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (AP)
8] Conspiracy to Commit Bank & Wire Fraud
9] Money Laundering Conspiracy
85 Years in Prison
Fine twice the gross gain or loss
Forfeiture of proceeds of offense
     
BRADLEY FRANZEN

(Payment Processor)

1] Conspiracy to Violate UIGEA
2] Violation of UIGEA (PS)
3] Violation of UIGEA (FT)
4] Violation of UIGEA (AP)
5] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (PS)
6] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (FT)
7] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (AP)
8] Conspiracy to Commit Bank & Wire Fraud
9] Money Laundering Conspiracy
85 Years in Prison
Fine twice the gross gain or loss
Forfeiture of proceeds of offense
     
IRA RUBIN

(Payment Processor)

1] Conspiracy to Violate UIGEA
2] Violation of UIGEA (PS)
3] Violation of UIGEA (FT)
4] Violation of UIGEA (AP)
5] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (PS)
6] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (FT)
7] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (AP)
8] Conspiracy to Commit Bank & Wire Fraud
9] Money Laundering Conspiracy
85 Years in Prison
Fine twice the gross gain or loss
Forfeiture of proceeds of offense
     
CHAD ELIE

(Payment Processor)

1] Conspiracy to Violate UIGEA
2] Violation of UIGEA (PS)
3] Violation of UIGEA (FT)
4] Violation of UIGEA (AP)
5] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (PS)
6] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (FT)
7] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (AP)
8] Conspiracy to Commit Bank & Wire Fraud
9] Money Laundering Conspiracy
85 Years in Prison
Fine twice the gross gain or loss
Forfeiture of proceeds of offense
     
JOHN CAMPOS

(Bank V.Chairman)

1] Conspiracy to Violate UIGEA
2] Violation of UIGEA (PS)
3] Violation of UIGEA (FT)
4] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (PS)
5] Operation Illegal Gambling Business (FT)
6] Money Laundering Conspiracy
45 Years in Prison
Fine twice the gross gain or loss
Forfeiture of proceeds of offense

*UIGEA is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006

The main problem faced by the accused is the Conspiracy to Commit Bank/Wire Fraud and the Money Laundering charges. The government alleges that USA players deposits were processed as flowers, jewelry and golf balls in a conspiracy to evade the UIGEA which subsequently launders the money as if it came from legitimate sources. The remaining charges are there primarily for strategic reasons.

John Pappas of the Poker Player Alliance stated – “Millions of Americans across the country today are outraged over the U.S. Department of Justice’s clear attack on Internet poker. Let me be clear, online poker is not a crime and the honest poker players across the country will not stand to be restricted from one of America’s greatest pastimes. On behalf of over one million members, the PPA is working hard to protect the interests of our players and is committed to U.S. citizens’ right to play online poker. The PPA believes that no players’ money should be jeopardized by this prosecution.”

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