Posts Tagged ‘crimes-against-poker’

November 19, 2014

Poker Justice: 7 years for killing a cheater

We should probably be sadder because someone died and poker had everything to do with it. But at the same time … man hosts poker game, catches brother cheating, shoots brother in the chest and kills him, gets seven years. Seven-ish to be more exact. Seems about right, and arguably a +EV move — though future family Thanksgivings could be tough.

Read more here: http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2014/11/flint_man_gets_prison_time_for_17.html.

Posted by at 12:32 am

November 20, 2012

DOJ Offers Glimpse of Payback Timeline for FTP Hostages

@TheJusticeDept says: We'll have a Full Tilt claims administrator by January

When it comes to federal relief efforts, the fate of America’s online poker money supply surely doesn’t rise to the level of import seen with Superstorm Sandy … but we are all victims (well you are, not me) … and accordingly the DOJ has responded to poker player beefs about Full Tilt monies in limbo

http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/vw_cases/pokerstars.html

November 20, 2012—Victim Update. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is evaluating applicants for the position of Claims Administrator to handle petitions for remission for U.S. victims of the alleged fraud that Full Tilt Poker committed relating to player funds. The United States Attorney’s Office expects that the Claims Administrator will be selected and begin work in January 2013.

Of course now that we can see everything about the remission process will be “by the book,” we know it will all be handled, er … by the book … which, frankly, may or may not lead to negative results for many of you (not me).

But we’ll see. Surely the DOJ understands how good it would be (for soooo many people!) if everyone could get paid back in time for the 2013 WSOP.

Posted by at 3:25 pm

November 13, 2012

DOJ, PPA Meet to Address Remission Timeline, Player Points

Full Tilt repayments still "a long way away"

The Poker Players Alliance’s legal team met with the DOJ earlier today in Washington DC for a status update on player repayments, and perhaps do a little lobbying on behalf of Full Tilt player points that could and should maybe someday count for something. Overall, it wasn’t very good news for players … particularly those who might be banking on the repatriation of online bankrolls at some point in 2012.

So how long will it be?

Considering that the DOJ hasn’t even set a deadline yet for when to hire an administrator to handle the Full Tilt repayment process … well, you can understand the harsh reality players face working with the government.

Read below for a report from PPA Executive Director John Pappas about what the DOJ had to say.

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Posted by at 7:09 pm

October 31, 2012

Cantor Gaming Insists No Connection to Online Gambling Crimes

System designed to prevent misconduct from rogue employees, execs say

Cantor Gaming officials on Monday said the company has been working closely with Nevada gaming regulators after the arrest of Mike Colbert, now a former vice president and director of risk management with the Las Vegas-based company.

Colbert was one of eight people arrested Wednesday in Southern Nevada in connection with a nationwide illegal bookmaking operation that generated $50 million in seven months.

Robert Hubbell, a spokesman with Cantor Gaming in New York, said Colbert was no longer an employee with Cantor Gaming. He said to date the company has “found nothing to indicate that (Colbert) was using our system or accounts for wrongdoing.”

“Although the charges were not related to his responsibilities at Cantor Gaming, it is important to note that our account wagering system is designed to prevent misconduct,” Hubbell said in a statement.

“The former employee’s responsibilities with Cantor Gaming had nothing to do with accepting or distributing patron money.”

Colbert on Monday did not speak during his brief initial procedural hearing in Las Vegas Justice Court.

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July 2, 2012

Ray Bitar Arrested

Full Tilt kingpin turns self in, DOJ restates "ponzi scheme" allegations

Leave it to Full Tilt Poker to steal thunder from all the attention going to the One Drop million-dollar buy-in tourney … after all, it’s gotta sting the creators of the Onyx Cup to see such a realization of their vision done bigger and better and with no Full Tilt patches anywhere near the TV cameras.

According to Forbes, Ray Bitar, the stubbornly semi-apologetic CEO of Full Tilt, has been arrested in New York after turning himself in to federal authorities. The Feds have added criminal charges to those levied against him April 15, 2011, based on false statements made to players about their funds as he and others continued to deplete Full Tilt accounts for personal gain … allegedly.

The superseding indictment said, “In effect, Full Tilt Poker operated what was, by then, nothing more than a Ponzi scheme.” So they have softened their language to say not that FTP was a Ponzi scheme … but it was like one. That actually, seems kinda true … when you think of all the poker benefits afforded certain Team Full Tilt pros by using player funds unbeknownst to them.

You can only imagine, too, that while Full Tilt got kinda pissed when PokerStars paid back all their players, Stars has to be kinda pissed as they face another reminder that DOJ settlements don’t come when wanted criminals — their words, not mine — are on the lam and running multinational companies that compete with the Caesars Empire.

Posted by at 11:24 am

March 4, 2012

Media Named as Co-conspirator in Calvin Ayre Indictment

Are poker affiliates next in DOJ sights?

When Calvin Ayre got indicted this past week, some were wondering what took so long … because if the DOJ couldn’t nab the brashest of online gambling kingpins (Bodog did sports-betting for chrissakes!) then there had to be a formula — a legal-enough way to run an online gambling empire while steering clear of America’s internet police.

Stu notes that the investigation leading to Bodog’s shutdown wasn’t singular in scope, and asks who might be next on the DOJ’s hit-list. The answer to that question, I believe, is in the indictment itself — and though they don’t name any magazine or website by brand, the DOJ does reveal that after more than five years of investigation they consider certain media part of a criminal conspiracy to facilitate illegal online gambling.

Read and decide for yourself on the not-so-subtle nuances of the DOJ-Maryland office’s carefully chosen words:

6.Through these communications, members of the conspiracy caused the media reseller to create and execute an advertising campaign to increase the participation by gamblers in the United States on the BODOG.com website.

7. Through these communications, members of the conspiracy caused the media reseller to send invoices to BODOG ENTERTAINMENT GROUP S.A., d/b/a BODOG.com. These invoices represented the costs and fees for the creation and execution of the advertising campaign.

8. Members of the conspiracy caused funds to be sent by wire from accounts located outside the United States to accounts located in the United States to satisfy the invoices sent by the media reseller. These wire transfers totaled more than $42 million during 2005 through 2008.

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Posted by at 4:18 pm

February 28, 2012

Don’t Shoot!

Violence & Poker - Is it worth reporting?

Come in, sit down, and let me slide an analogy across the table. Imagine that two businessmen meet over a game of poker. During the course of that game, they hammer out a deal to create a brand new company. Should the poker media report it? I don’t mean morally. I mean, is that something you – our particular audience – would find interesting? I doubt it. Even if you happen to possess a particular partiality for late-night business deals, that interest is irrelevant to poker. To co-opt a bit of Latin, your interest in the story qua poker is nil.

Here comes the second half of the analogy. Imagine that two gentlemen meet over a game of poker. During the course of the game, they get into a disagreement that results in one player wounding his opponent by means of gunfire. Exciting right? Violence, crime, projectiles! I’m sure you’d be interested in that sort of thing. Hey, and it involves poker too, so that means that we can report it in the poker media. Win win!

But really, does a reader’s desire to learn about this violent crime have anything to do with the fact that it occurred next to an upturned circle of felt? Once again, your interest in the story qua poker is minimal. It’s unlikely that you’ll be asking what the stack sizes were when the shooting took place or whether the man with a bullet in his leg has ever won a WSOP Circuit ring.

At this point it’s fair to ask, ‘so what?’ If a story provides titillation, who cares that it only has a tangential relation to poker? If the audience enjoys it, print it.

There is a problem however and to expose it we can ask for a helping hand from one of the great thinkers of the Enlightenment. Scottish philosopher David Hume argued that we could never truly know when one thing caused another. Instead we could only establish that two events were regularly correlated. We can lay aside his intellectual musings for the moment, but his insight into the human condition is extremely relevant. Hume’s discovery was that when two events happen frequently one after the other it is a natural human tendency to assume that the former plays a part in causing the latter, even if their connection is just coincidence.

In many ways, the press have the power to curate your world view. So far as the poker media are concerned, what we choose to report makes a big difference to what information you absorb. Twitter and Facebook have broken down those barriers to some degree, but a written report from a major poker news outlet still highlights an event in a way that the burbling of social media cannot match. In other words, we can make certain correlations more distinct.

To quote another equally important thinker, “with great power comes great responsibility.” If we choose to regularly report on poker shootings, both ‘poker’ and ‘shooting’ become more commonly correlated in the minds of our readers. The knowledgeable sorts who bookmark Pokerati can see through such illusory causation, but not every site is blessed with such learned readers. The openness of the internet also means that anyone could pick up on a story at any moment, immediately highlighting it in even bolder lettering; adding to the weight of correlation. Not to mention poker’s many enemies, who will leap at the chance to trumpet any bad press they can find.

Let’s leave crime reporting to the crime blogs, except in cases where poker plays a tangible role. Focussing on stories of shootings at poker games adds nothing of interest to the general tapestry of the game and only serves to further denigrate the image of a pastime that is fighting for legal and moral recognition.

Posted by at 7:12 am

February 8, 2012

(Another) Texas Poker Homicide

Houston family game turns to shootout; one dead, three wounded

A Houston-area man got killed this past weekend at a poker game — after a fight broke out at what appears to be a family home game, and hosts ejected a supposedly uninvited player, who then returned with a handgun, police say, and fired wildly at the table, hitting at least three people. One of the shooting victims, Angel Vazquez, 48, returned fire with his own weapon and wounded the alleged attacker, Manuel Morales, 41 … but in the end Vazquez died at the hospital, while Morales, picked up by police at a nearby gas station, is in critical condition and facing murder charges.

Hard to tell if this game in Northeast Harris County was truly a family poker night in a residential neighborhood or underground poker room … but either way, sad as it is in the face of death and painful injury, you gotta believe there is more to this story:

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Posted by at 9:05 am

December 8, 2011

In Brief: Legal Biznass

Poker Law, Politics, Business, and Crime

We spend so much time reading about poker legal developments here at Pokerati that we sometimes forget to share the relevant news before the cycle turns to something else … and then I complain that our readers here aren’t as smart anymore as they used to be? It doesn’t take a JD to see the flaw in my logic there. Thus, here’s a much-needed batch of recent highlights and hedlines to keep the incessant but important buzz in context … a semi-special link-dump, btw, brought to you by our new-good friends at LegalPokerSites.com:

First UIGEA Conviction in the Books The DOJ logged their first win on UIGEA charges — making the supposedly weak law thus far undefeated — against online sportsbook operator Todd Lyons. His arrest back in May 2010 shoulda been a big warning sign to American online poker operators (and players?) — and Full Tilt specifically — that the DOJ was coming to get them! [CalvinAyre.com]

First Black Friday Trial Date Set John Campos and Chad Elie, the Utah banker and PokerStars payment processor indicted for their role in online poker criminal activity, have a trial date in March … creating a tangible timeline for Black Friday cases and added pressure on the big fish the DOJ really wants — Isai Sheinberg, Ray Bitar, and Scott Tom. [Legal Poker Sites]

MGM Sues Poker Domain Squatters Just as Caesars sued (and won) to obtain the domain WSOP.com, MGM has filed suit to repossess the domains mgmpoker.com, bellagiopoker.com, luxorpoker.com, mandalaybaypoker.com, and ariapoker.com. Apparently the casino giant thinks they’ll have need for them soon. [VegasInc]

Barton Says Online Poker Bill Still Alive This Congress Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) gave a luncheon keynote at the DGLP, where he spelled out how his online poker bill is moving forward as a piece of stand-alone legislation and/or still could be absorbed into some omnibus bills. Pretty straight-forward, honest-sounding stuff as Barton even talks about his own live real-money play and admits to multi-accounting for play money on PokerStars. [Pokerati Soundcloud]

Adelson Balks at Readiness for Online Poker The poker masses got spun into a tizzy after Vegas politico Jon Ralston “reported” that Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson has been buzzing around DC that he is morally opposed to online gambling … and that age-verification technology isn’t ready yet. Ralston concludes that this could kill online poker’s chances in Congress as if Adelson alone is more powerful than the combined forces of Caesars, MGM, Steve Wynn, Station Casinos, Boyd Gaming, Michael Gaughan, et al. Quick to cry, some poker players have begun calling for a boycott of Venetian Poker. [Las Vegas Sun]

Nevada Regulations Almost Ready While so many chatter about complex details of future online poker, the Nevada Gaming Commission and State Gaming Control Board seem to be the only ones systematically moving forward with thorough, enforceable rules and regulations for online gaming. In one of the biggest overhauls to state gaming regs in history, they just released a whole bunch of revisions for licensure and suitable ownership that Big and Small casinos alike are paying close attention to. [gaming.NV.gov]

Fry Howie? Funny/sad, shortly after Black Friday I thought we might be seeing T-shirts that said “Free Howard!” not “Fry Howard!” But loyalty can be a fickle bitch when you eff up with someone else’s money. Hence this flash creation for players wishing to express their personal outrage against Full Tilt and Howard Lederer violently. [PokerListings]

UB Player Database Leaked Lots of offline debate over how and why nearly 3 million poker-player IDs leaked out. Work of a disgruntled employee or scuttling the ship before UB ultimately hits sea-floor? And will there be more such pressings of self-destruct? [Haley’s Poker Blog]

Rest o’World: Cyprus on Crackdown, South Africa’s Open-Market Mind, German Pre-unification Some of the other key political moves from the rest of the world, as the future of legal online poker (and gambling) actively takes shape … the mediterranean island that isn’t Malta doesn’t have moral opposition, they just want their cut (kinda like Kentucky) … while South Africa continues its progressive-minded movement from staunch opposition to tolerance to active support of online gambling … all while the German province of Schleswig-Holstein’s acceptance of new online poker rules is so big it actually moved some major market needles. [Legal Poker Sites]

Posted by at 6:26 pm

October 26, 2011

Pinstripes & Polka Dots Tourney with @DukeofFremont

Museum Guild looks to poker to help preserve Vegas culture

The Duke of Fremont, that colorful, uniquely Vegassy character who likes to buy in to 1/2 games with no max and sit behind stacks of $100k in bills (which he carries around downtown in a violin case) returns to the felt for a tourney at the Golden Nugget this Friday — raising money for the Clark County Museum Guild, a non-profit philanthropic group dedicated to preserving Las Vegas culture.

The event comes with the Duke fully recovered from multiple broken bones and flesh wounds suffered in a violent robbery in August 2010. The trial against his accused assailants was supposed to start this week — just down the street from the Nugget — but was delayed on Monday.

Who: The Duke of Fremont presents “Pinstripes & Polka Dots”
What: $100 NLH (w $20 rebuys)
When: Friday, Oct 28, 6pm (red carpet cocktails begin at 5pm)
Where: Golden Nugget, Downtown Las Vegas
Why: Fundraiser for Clark County Museum Guild

More…

Posted by at 7:41 pm

October 11, 2011

PPA Meets with DOJ re: Seized Player Funds

The big news this week is PPA’s meeting with the Department of Justice regarding player funds locked up on Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and Ultimate Bet. Needless to say, this is at the forefront of the concerns of the membership and of the PPA, so I am pleased to report that your PPA has been proactive in pushing for restitution for our members.

From Executive Director John Pappas:

“We still have an open dialogue with [the DOJ] and look forward to more productive conversations down the road. We plan to follow up to make sure the DOJ gets a guarantee that players get restitution through any deal with new Full Tilt management.”

For more on this important story, please check out Poker Players Alliance Meets with DOJ Regarding Full Tilt Poker Player Funds –  Poker News (October 7, 2011).

In other news …


October 2, 2011

Feel the Shame

It's the scummy poker world, not just Full Tilt, on trial

jesse may poker shame
Jesse May

OP-ED

It didnt’t really bother me when Poker Spot folded, because that guy had history. And I laughed about the money Aces Poker stole, because anyone who trusted them couldn’t ever spot a cheat. The Ultimate Bet scandal wasn’t really that surprising, as we’d heard stories about him for years. And it never shocked me when they cheated me in Atlantic City, or went partners against me in Vegas, or at Foxwoods tried to do a runner with my funds. The nips, the moves, the cheats, the angle shooters, and those that were just plain thieves. For the past ten years when the stars put on their caps and badges and smiled for the TV, we used to smile to ourselves. And then we’d laugh as we’d tick off the big names in poker and say, “But he’s really just a little scumbag, isn’t he?” Because they pretty much all were. And that’s the way it’s always been.

I didn’t always think like that, of course, and neither did you. I came into poker just like yourself, wide eyed and dough faced and on the back of a little bit of luck. Full of passion for the game and a romantic view of the poker world and a desire to be accepted by the rambling gambling men who ruled. It’s natural when you have a pocketful of money and a bellyful of gamble and all the confidence in the world, it’s natural that when it comes to people you can be a little naïve. I certainly was, and so probably were you.

I’m ashamed that I have sat by in silence while you all cheated, stole, and lied. I know you, you thieving tournament directors, you scumbag poker players, you dirtbag angle shooters with your names stitched on your shirts. I know you. And I’m ashamed that I’ve sat here for twenty years and let you rule the poker world as long as I was still getting paid.

But you get wiser because you have to. My circle got small and my radar got sharp and I could count all the people that I could really trust on maybe one hand. And I told them they could trust me. And pretty much everyone else were scumbags and cheats. In poker, that’s the way it’s always been. That’s the way it’s been for me, and that’s the way it is for you. And we don’t ever talk out of turn. Because in this world if you shit where you eat, then you’ll end up hungry. That’s what you need to know about poker. That’s what you need to know about me.

I’ve been around long enough so that just one more scam, cheat, or mismanagement of funds, one more of those should be just like more water off another duck’s back. But something happened to me when Full Tilt Poker collapsed. This one is different. This has laid me low. It’s not just anger I feel, it’s not just disdain, and I can’t sit here like I always do and smile to myself and point fingers and call them scum. Because what I feel more than anything else right now, is shame.

More…

Posted by at 5:33 am

September 30, 2011

DOJ Says Return of Player Funds “May Be Possible”

Calls Full Tilt players victims, invites them to play with the pros-ecutor

If you are out real American dollars in the Full Tilt Poker collapse, the US government is apparently your friend. That’s the message of Preet Bharara and the Department of Justice, who put out a statement to get those dumfugkers from 2+2 to stop hassling us clarify the status of player accounts in light of revelations about Full Tilt’s insolvency.

In it they spell out a process they are going through to get money from anyone who mighta suckled from the Full Tilt mother-teat, and give an indefinite timeline (months at a minimum) to tell all those thinking this could be the “final chapter”, “dude, we’re just getting started, here.”

The full DOJ statement is below, which ends with a reminder about 28 C.F.R. Part 9, the regulation that binds them.

Meanwhile, not sure if this is a good, bad, or meh-for-poker … but the DOJ is coming under scrutiny over seized assets. Just this month — after an investigation sparked by a junior prosecutor in the Southern District of New York concerned about plausible shenanigans in the remission of Bernie Madoff loot — the Justice Department’s own Inspector General cited serious deficiencies in the US Marshals’ handling of seized assets. The OIG wrote a report that reads kinda like a Full Tilt indictment … at a time when they are getting flack (from both the left and the right) for essentially abusing some 400 laws allowing them to take money and other assets from people who may or may not face criminal charges.

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Posted by at 7:16 am

September 23, 2011

Weekly Update from the PPA

Petitioning Obama, Big Debt super-committee outreach, say "hi" to the DOJ

The big news this week was, of course, the amending of the Department of Justice’s online poker civil suit claiming that Full Tilt Poker was engaged in a “Ponzi scheme” that defrauded its players. Needless to say, this was a sad day for American poker players that underscored our need as players and enthusiasts for consumer protections.

I have spoken with many poker players who have been deeply affected by the failure of Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and Ultimate Bet to repay its players since Black Friday. While I have roughly five figures of my own money locked up on Full Tilt Poker, this is nothing compared to the heartbreaking stories I have heard from many of my fellow players. We all need to take a stand — for the present AND for the future.

You all received PPA’s update yesterday detailing how to contact the Justice Department’s Victims and Witness Services program. I encourage everyone affected by this to take a good look at both this program and at PPA’s legal analysis of the options available to individual players who have not been able to access their online poker funds.

PPA has worked to ensure that all proposed online poker legislation includes provisions for consumer protections even well before Black Friday. Needless to say, PPA will continue to push for these important provisions. We all deserve safe, licensed, accountable sites on which to play. I am glad the poker community is standing together, united in this fight for our rights.

Here are some actions we can take right now to continue to advocate for our rights. These take less than 60 seconds each!

 

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February 3, 2011

The Difference Between Online Casinos and Fully Legal Land-based Gambling Halls

A sign seen in the new Aviator Casino, in Delano, California, reminding me of a difference between casinos regulated in lands we know well and virtual establishments based out of places that may or may not exist beyond our poker imaginations:

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Posted by at 5:43 pm