As soon as the Kahnawake Gaming Commission released its final decision in the UltimateBet cheating scandal, the questions started hitting. Most of them concerned the secrecy around the list of 31 names said to be associated with Russ Hamilton. A discussion with Chuck Barnett, member of the Board of Supervisors of Mohawk Internet Technologies, provided his reasons for not releasing that list of names.
Mr. Barnett first told me that implicating Hamilton in the scandal was not a problem, as it was “very clear” that he was directly connected and responsible for the crimes being alleged. The names of the 31 individuals associated were another story, he says. The Commission had lengthy discussions regarding the release of those names and ultimately consulted their legal team and law enforcement officials.
On the legal front, they deemed it a civil liability issue, as the suspects are directly linked to Hamilton or the 117 accounts listed BUT there is the possibility that they had no knowledge of the scheme. If they were accused and found to be completely oblivious to or innocent of the crimes, there would be liability in falsely accusing them. There is also some question as to each person’s level of culpability, which can’t be known until they are questioned by the proper authorities. And per law enforcement, naming the individuals would impede a criminal investigation, as anyone named may be able to flee the country, hide, etc. With all things considered, the KGC made the decision to withhold the names.
When asked about the law enforcement agencies involved, Mr. Barnett wouldn’t say much. Legally, all he said he could say was all information from the KGC investigation was turned over to “law enforcement,” which had expressed a distinct interest in pursuing the case. He could not say, however, whether those were Canadian or U.S. authorities, only that there were discussions with “regional and national” agencies.
If/when indictments are handed down or prosecutions are made, or if some other permission is given by law enforcement, the KGC will make public the names – and be happy to do it. Until then, based on overwhelming advice, the list will remain a mystery.