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BUSINESS
August 1, 2012 | By Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times
Two online poker websites accused of fraud and money laundering have reached a settlement under which customers will be reimbursed for the money they deposited with the sites. In a complicated deal, PokerStars, based on Britain's Isle of Man, agreed to acquire Full Tilt Poker and pay back Full Tilt Poker's customers. U.S. customers will be reimbursed from a $547-million government pool to be paid by PokerStars, while non-U.S. customers will be paid $184 million directly by PokerStars.
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BUSINESS
April 16, 2013 | Bloomberg News
Full Tilt Poker founder Raymond Bitar, accused of using online player funds to finance his company in what prosecutors called a Ponzi scheme, pleaded guilty but was spared from serving time in prison because he needs a heart transplant. U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska on Monday approved a plea agreement between Bitar, 41, and prosecutors, sentencing him to the seven days he served in jail last year, after saying a prison sentence would kill him. Bitar, who participated in a hearing in Manhattan federal court by video link from Los Angeles, near his home, pleaded guilty to two felonies that carry a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison.
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BUSINESS
April 16, 2013 | Bloomberg News
Full Tilt Poker founder Raymond Bitar, accused of using online player funds to finance his company in what prosecutors called a Ponzi scheme, pleaded guilty but was spared from serving time in prison because he needs a heart transplant. U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska on Monday approved a plea agreement between Bitar, 41, and prosecutors, sentencing him to the seven days he served in jail last year, after saying a prison sentence would kill him. Bitar, who participated in a hearing in Manhattan federal court by video link from Los Angeles, near his home, pleaded guilty to two felonies that carry a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison.
BUSINESS
August 1, 2012 | By Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times
Two online poker websites accused of fraud and money laundering have reached a settlement under which customers will be reimbursed for the money they deposited with the sites. In a complicated deal, PokerStars, based on Britain's Isle of Man, agreed to acquire Full Tilt Poker and pay back Full Tilt Poker's customers. U.S. customers will be reimbursed from a $547-million government pool to be paid by PokerStars, while non-U.S. customers will be paid $184 million directly by PokerStars.
BUSINESS
July 1, 2011 | By Nathaniel Popper, Los Angeles Times
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.
BUSINESS
July 3, 2012 | By Laura Hautala, Los Angeles Times
The founder of the defunct gambling site Full Tilt Poker, which allegedly owes $350 million to Internet poker players, was arrested in New York as he came back into the country. Raymond Bitar, who was an equities trader in Los Angeles before establishing the offshore website, was taken into custody Monday at John F. Kennedy International Airport. In addition to previous charges of bank fraud, money laundering and gambling, an indictment unsealed before his arrest charged him with defrauding customers.
BUSINESS
September 21, 2011 | By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
Internet gambling site Full Tilt Poker and its operators built a global Ponzi scheme that bilked online players out of at least $390 million, according to new allegations in an amended civil lawsuit filed by federal prosecutors. The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan said that besides defrauding the U.S. banking system, as alleged in a civil lawsuit last spring, Full Tilt was "not a legitimate poker company. " Instead, it "cheated and abused its own players," prosecutors said, as insiders "lined their own pockets with funds picked from the pockets of their most loyal customers while blithely lying to both players and the public alike about the safety and security of the money deposited with the company.
BUSINESS
April 21, 2011 | By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
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.
BUSINESS
June 28, 2012 | By Willam D'Urso
Former Utah banker John Campos has been sentenced to three months in prison for processing about $200 million in illegal online poker transactions. Campos, the vice chairman of SunFirst Bank in St. George, Utah, had pleaded guilty in March to a misdemeanor charge of causing a federally insured bank to accept money in connection with illegal gambling. Judge Lewis Kaplan called the crime "greed-driven" but said he was being "extremely lenient" with his sentencing. “There's just no doubt at all that you engaged in criminal behavior,” Kaplan said.
BUSINESS
July 31, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu
The world's largest Internet poker company, PokerStars, is settling with the government to the tune of $731 million more than a year after a crackdown on online gambling. And, in possibly the best part of the deal, the company is also buying former competitor Full Tilt Poker and paying back its customers, who were left locked out of their accounts after the site's U.S. operations were shut down last April . In the agreement with the Manhattan branch of the Department of Justice, PokerStars will forfeit $547 million to the government over three years.
BUSINESS
July 31, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu
The world's largest Internet poker company, PokerStars, is settling with the government to the tune of $731 million more than a year after a crackdown on online gambling. And, in possibly the best part of the deal, the company is also buying former competitor Full Tilt Poker and paying back its customers, who were left locked out of their accounts after the site's U.S. operations were shut down last April . In the agreement with the Manhattan branch of the Department of Justice, PokerStars will forfeit $547 million to the government over three years.
BUSINESS
July 3, 2012 | By Laura Hautala, Los Angeles Times
The founder of the defunct gambling site Full Tilt Poker, which allegedly owes $350 million to Internet poker players, was arrested in New York as he came back into the country. Raymond Bitar, who was an equities trader in Los Angeles before establishing the offshore website, was taken into custody Monday at John F. Kennedy International Airport. In addition to previous charges of bank fraud, money laundering and gambling, an indictment unsealed before his arrest charged him with defrauding customers.
BUSINESS
June 28, 2012 | By Willam D'Urso
Former Utah banker John Campos has been sentenced to three months in prison for processing about $200 million in illegal online poker transactions. Campos, the vice chairman of SunFirst Bank in St. George, Utah, had pleaded guilty in March to a misdemeanor charge of causing a federally insured bank to accept money in connection with illegal gambling. Judge Lewis Kaplan called the crime "greed-driven" but said he was being "extremely lenient" with his sentencing. “There's just no doubt at all that you engaged in criminal behavior,” Kaplan said.
BUSINESS
December 21, 2011 | By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
A co-founder of Absolute Poker, one of three major Internet card-playing sites targeted by the federal government in an illegal gambling sweep this year, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy charges. Brent Beckley, a U.S. citizen who lives in Costa Rica, was charged with violating Internet gambling laws and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. Prosecutors accused Absolute Poker, as well as gambling sites Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, of persuading financial institutions to process online gambling transactions from players' credit cards by disguising them as payments for items such as jewelry and golf balls.
BUSINESS
September 21, 2011 | By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
Internet gambling site Full Tilt Poker and its operators built a global Ponzi scheme that bilked online players out of at least $390 million, according to new allegations in an amended civil lawsuit filed by federal prosecutors. The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan said that besides defrauding the U.S. banking system, as alleged in a civil lawsuit last spring, Full Tilt was "not a legitimate poker company. " Instead, it "cheated and abused its own players," prosecutors said, as insiders "lined their own pockets with funds picked from the pockets of their most loyal customers while blithely lying to both players and the public alike about the safety and security of the money deposited with the company.
BUSINESS
July 1, 2011 | By Nathaniel Popper, Los Angeles Times
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.
OPINION
April 20, 2011
Who wants to bet that the recent federal crackdown on Internet poker sites won't stop Americans from playing poker online for money? Federal agents seized the websites of three of the world's most popular online poker companies Friday, indicted 11 of their executives and associates, and filed a lawsuit seeking at least $3 billion in penalties. It was the most extensive enforcement action taken by the government since Congress enacted a law in 2006 to prohibit banks, credit-card companies and others in the financial industry from processing online gambling transactions.
BUSINESS
April 29, 2011 | Michael Hiltzik
By its nature, gambling is an uncertain proposition for the player. But here's a bet you can't lose: If a U.S. gambling regulation is on the table, put your money on the side that says it will be confused, hypocritical and costly. Case in point: "Black Friday. " On April 15, federal prosecutors threw the book at three major online poker websites and their principals, unsealing a 52-page indictment charging 11 defendants with bank fraud, money laundering and operating illegal gambling businesses.
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