April 15, 2011 |
A thriving online poker industry catering to Americans but operating from abroad to evade U.S. gambling laws could be wiped out by criminal charges against top executives in the business. Eleven people, including the founders of the three largest poker sites open to U.S. players, were charged by a federal grand jury with bank fraud, money laundering and violating gambling laws. The government also is seeking to recover $3 billion from the companies. The FBI had shut down two of the sites, Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, by Friday evening and were working to do the same with the third, Absolute Poker.
April 21, 2011 |
Two online poker sites shut down by the federal government last week have been permitted to start up again, but only to help players get their money back, authorities said. Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars regained access to their domain names after striking agreements with the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York, which Friday accused founders of the sites of bank and wire fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling. The agreements prohibit the sites from allowing patrons in the U.S. to play for money on the venues.
April 24, 2011 |
I got dealt some pretty bad hands in the last few days by forces far out of my control. I awoke April 15 to find that the feds had indicted 11 executives on multiple felony charges, including bank fraud and money laundering, at the three top sites in America's online poker market and seized their Web domains. If you logged on to Absolute Poker, Full Tilt Poker or PokerStars, you got to look at the shiny logo of the FBI. I like to play the 50-cent minimum, no-limit game on Full Tilt, and that's what I saw that Friday instead of direct access to the $216.
April 20, 2011 |
Though it was a Monday night and tax day to boot, finding a parking spot at Hustler Casino in Gardena was no easy feat. It may have been the ongoing poker tournament that helped the crowd swell above normal size. But over the weekend, a breed of player not usually found in clubs had also swarmed the casino. Wearing sunglasses under their hoodies and hats, they stood out "like a zebra around a bunch of cows," manager Craig Kaufman said. They were online poker players, who usually disdained Hustler's plush velvet detailing and soft jazz background music in favor of a dozen simultaneous poker games sprawled across home computer screens.
July 1, 2011 |
A leading online poker company shut down by federal prosecutors is set to be bought by a group of European investors in a deal that could allow U.S. players to recover as much as $150 million. Full Tilt Poker was one of three online poker sites that had its American operations shut down on April 15 when the founders of all three sites were indicted on charges of bank fraud, money laundering and violating gambling laws. Full Tilt, Poker Stars and Absolute Bet continued to operate outside the United States, though Wednesday, Full Tilt's international operations were suspended by regulators in the British Channel Islands.
April 19, 2011 |
Bradley Franzen, one of 11 executives charged in a crackdown against the three largest online poker sites open to U.S. players, has pleaded not guilty. Franzen, 41 and from Illinois, was released on $200,000 in bail after turning himself in to the FBI on Monday in New York. The 11 executives — three of whom were the respective founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker — were charged Friday with bank fraud, money laundering and violating gambling laws. The government also sought to recover $3 billion from the companies.