Posts Tagged ‘Lewis Kaplan’

Shifting Opinions: United States v. DiCristina

Fine lines persist between skill games and gambling crimes

by , Sep 18, 2012 | 1:50 pm

I intended to blog about the DiCristina decision since it was released on August 21st, but I haven’t made the time until now. With the usual great commentary about the case coming from all over the gaming spectrum, many of the more interesting points about the facts of the case itself and about what it means for poker have already been made. This post is really intended to be something of a summary of the commentary and reactions to date. If nothing else, hopefully Pokerati can act as a repository of documents and reflections on the case.

The Decision
Let’s start with the facts and the decision itself, a copy of which is here (all 120 pages of it). This summer, a jury convicted Lawrence DiCristina of operating (and of conspiracy to operate) an illegal gambling business contrary to the federal Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA). Those were the only federal charges against him. Mr. DiCristina ran a two-table, twice-weekly poker club in the back room of a Staten Island warehouse. The house at this business charged a 5 percent rake; the dealers were paid 25 percent of the rake collected. The defendant brought a motion for acquittal, arguing that the operation of the poker games didn’t violate the IGBA. The US District Judge in the case, Jack Weinstein, wrote his memorandum, order, and judgment in response to this motion. After an extensive discussion of the statute and its relationship to poker, Judge Weinstein vacated Mr. DiCristina’s conviction and dismissed the indictment.


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Sentencing Delay for Brent Beckley

Court Intends to Consider an Upward Departure

by , May 19, 2012 | 6:46 pm

An order has hit the docket in the Black Friday prosecutions in New York. In it, Judge Lewis Kaplan indicates that the court will consider an upward adjustment in Mr. Beckley’s sentence on the ground of “an aggravating circumstance.” What does this mean?

In Mr. Beckley’s plea agreement, the government and he agreed that his U.S. Sentencing Guidelines range was 12-18 months’ imprisonment for both of the counts to which he pleaded guilty, meaning that it would not be unreasonable to expect that his custodial sentence would fall somewhere in the range of 12-18 months. However, these are only guidelines; the court has the power to take into account circumstances that it believes have not been adequately covered by the sentencing guidelines. In this case, the applicable guideline places a premium on “the reasonably foreseeable pecuniary harm” to the bank under the plea to the bank fraud conspiracy count. From a reading of the order’s text, the government is “not in a position to establish pecuniary harm.” However, Judge Kaplan states that the defendant “conspired to circumvent, and circumvented, governing laws of the United States in order to conduct or facilitate an unlawful business or businesses involving billions of dollars from which those businesses gained many millions of dollars.” The judge is concerned that the guideline’s heavy emphasis on loss might not result in an “appropriate” sentencing range and, therefore, appears to believe that an upward departure may be warranted in Mr. Beckley’s case.

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Tzvetkoff Bail Rescinded

Payment processor to stay behind bars for trial

by , Apr 29, 2010 | 7:03 am

Yep, it’s official … the Feds weren’t gonna let Daniel Tzvetkoff get away/offed before his historic UIGEA case made it to trial. Yesterday, as we were half-reporting on this likely development, US District Judge Lewis Kaplan — in New York’s Southern District, of course — was issuing the order over-riding the conditional bail granted by Las Vegas federal magistrate Peggy Leen … (who apparently didn’t get the memo about how serious the Feds were taking this case!)

Click here to read the court order assuring Tzvetkoff will remain behind bars throughout the pre-trial process.

The reason Judge Kaplan cited for denying bail was “a serious risk the defendant will not appear” as he faces “clear and convincing evidence” against him.

Heads-up credit to @GamingCounsel.