July 31, 2012 |
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.
July 3, 2012 |
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.
June 28, 2012 |
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.
December 21, 2011 |
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.
September 21, 2011 |
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.
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.