Florida Man Jailed over Online Poker Money

Secret Service investigating how American players receive funds

by , Mar 1, 2010 | 12:29 am

Still making sense of it all, and how this is different from other poker-related money seizures and charges against Canadian Douglas Rennick … but it looks to be something big, and a new level of poker prosecutions.

Here’s the story from the Naples News:

Feds investigate Naples man in money laundering probe tied to online gambling

It may or may not be coincidental that the the Feds have arrested Michael Olaf Schuett’s for money transfers directly related (allegedly) to online poker just as the state is taking a closer-than-ever look at the game with eyes on its revenue potential. It’s also not clear if Schuett’s been charged with anything yet, or is just being held because he is a foreign national flight risk with felony charges pending.

Here are some plausibly relevant names, and highlights that jump out at yours truly:

  • Michael Olaf Schuett, or Schütt, is the guy they’re after. He’s a 29-year-old German whose visa expire in April. A federal judge has ordered him held in Lee County jail without bond.
  • He lives in a pretty sick oceanfront condo.
  • He’s been married only a month to a 28-year-old woman he’s known for only nine months. Her name is Jennifer Sherman.
  • Feds allege that since opening accounts in 2007, Schuett has transferred about $70 million to 23,000 people, mostly Americans and supposedly online poker winnings.
  • The giveaway was dozens of checks being received daily via Fed Ex.
  • People cashing checks sent to them from Schuett claim they are online poker winnings.
  • Secret Service is the law enforcement agency involved.
  • Agents are seeking to execute search warrants and seize allegedly ill-gotten property, such as fancy cars and watches.
  • The complaint lays out a web of money transfers between businesses and banks and players.
  • Lots of American and Canadian banks in play. Key company serving as go-between: Bluetool Ltd. out of Germany.
  • Supposedly no direct allegations in the complaint against any online poker sites, but the Naples News reporter was able to connect them to transactions from Full Tilt, PokerStars, and Absolute.
  • Three specific players — Corey Drury, Darren Elias, and Derek Dubois — get named as receiving money through Schuett’s legally questionable operation. All three have public profiles on BluffMagazine, PocketFives, CardPlayer, and PokerPages.
  • As banks became hip to the set-up, Schuett tried to create a new accounts to hold the money, claiming to be a real estate investor — a story the banks didn’t buy.

15 Comments to “Florida Man Jailed over Online Poker Money ”

  1. MattWaldron

    Hmmm…does not seem likely this is really poker related (unless he is a clearing house for the checks? Super-rake affiliate?) with this level of cash coming through. Greed nailed this one.

  2. DanM

    How is this NOT online poker related? Haven’t seen the complaint itself yet — and I still don’t understand whether or not there have been charges filed — but it seems like everything about this guy’s op is online poker related. Am I misreading something?

  3. Spaceman

    If it’s not 100% poker-related, it’s damned close. That Southwest Florida Payroll Co. that’s mentioned in the article as being run by Schuett definitely rings a bell as a Full Tilt Poker cashout company.

  4. DanM

    At first I thought the Secret Service was looking at bluff magazine + you (psst, I know where he lives! witness protection?) but then i realized that was just the reporter having an aha moment realizing, “hmm, these guys must be poker players … just like they say the banks said!”

  5. Spaceman

    Crazy reporters putting facts together! What’s this world coming to?

    I miss the good old days. Seriously, it’s never going to be 2006 ever again. Even if the feds legalize and regulate the game tomorrow, they’ll find a way to screw it up. Either they’ll wall off American players from the rest of the world, or the rake will jump to 10% like it is in live games, or they’ll institute mandatory bad beat jackpot drops at all tables, or they’ll make the minimum stakes $1-2 like they do in the casinos, or they’ll tax every session instead of your gross profits … and these are just the scenarios I can come up with off the top of my head at 4 a.m. Even if we get what we want, we’re opening the door to a whole lot of people who don’t give the tiniest bit of consideration to what’s good for poker telling the poker world how things are going to be. The benefits of being a line item in someone’s budget often leave a lot to be desired.

  6. Beanie

    Sounds like this guys problem is indeed unrelated to online poker. This guy is a liar. Also the thought that he was some super affiliate is LOL. I mean affiliates make good money but not 70 million dollars good money.

    Handling the money is the “hot potato” in online gambling, everyone knows this. The interesting part though is if he was handling online poker money I don’t think it is in fact super clear that he would have done anything illegal. My guess though is that this was online poker money mixed with some sports betting money or they are going to try and get him for bank fraud. Either way I think that is what distinguishes this from an online poker crime which this does not appear to be, nor do I think it is possible to commit an online poker crime since the bar is “taking bets” and poker does not “take bets”, they host games for a fee.

  7. Anonymous

    I think the moral of this story is be careful of what you put in a Fedex envelope.

  8. DanM

    Where are you guys not seeing the poker connection? While all the other prosecutions seemed to be about full-on online gambling with maybe a little poker thrown in, in this one, the Secret Service actually names US players who supposedly received payments from said processor scheme … and these are known American online players with pocketfives profiles and everything.

    I agree with Beanie, though, that he touches on one of the issues … and Pappas made that point two weeks ago in the Florida Senate — which is that online poker doesn’t constitute “illegal internet gambling”. No one, other than Washington State, has emphatically said, yes it does! But no one has yet to say, yeah, you are right, poker doesn’t count.

  9. Haley

    Assuming it -is- related to online poker, it again begs the question of why any online site continues to try to process payments to customers from within the U.S., rather than sending cheques payable in U.S. $$$$$ through international conduits. Surely there’s some crapass bank in the Netherlands Antilles that would jump at the chance, which on a whole is probably safer for everyone than Joe Dropmailbox in Florida.

  10. Beanie

    Actually Dan I am too lazy to find the video but when the DOJ was asked specifically when she was being asked by Congress if what defines illegal, she said “taking bets” and I believe she even went further than that and explained it a bit. Lederer has mentioned this a few times in interviews as to why he believes online poker is legal. I realize that he is biased.

  11. DanM

    yeah, i think we all know why we COULD win in court that poker is not illegal gambling, but without a ruling of some sorts, that opinion isn’t good enough for the banks. (At the same time, that’s why the Feds don’t seem to be going directly after online poker sites — because what if they were to lose!)

    I actually believe by the letter of the law that the Federal income tax is probably illegal … but all who have gotten behind that argument vehemently have ended up in jail. In the end, unless it is something handled in court, we’re not gonna win anything about online gambling on the premise that online poker isn’t gambling. That’s just too much to swallow for too many people. Heck the banks aren’t even letting specifically exempted horse betting transactions go through.

  12. CatcherBlock

    Yeah….this guy is my good friends new husband and she had no clue as to what was going on. He always told us that he runs a payroll service for german nationals…not that I believed him….but….he seems to have lied to us about most everything. Oh well, I guess we will keep all his shit and sell it….Anyone want 3 cats??????

  13. snyder321

    You all sound like politicians. everyone one there POV.never to waver

    1)The government created part of the problem by trying to ban online poker in the first place, and doing a piss-poor job of that.
    If you ban it or legalize it, do it right the first time.
    2)The banks just happen to let all the money slide thru? No red flags?So if its that easy to do it,hmm I’m thinking hes not the only one.(just a out loud thought, that’s all)
    3)And may I also add if the poker site in question didn’t see someone transferring 70 million,even if it was a little here a little there, they were also asleep at the wheel

  14. snyder321

    First day I found this site.

    I love it!!!!

    Did anyone see the news on (dang it) I cant remember the state.
    Maybe ohio? Wants to legalize online poker thru the Indian casino’s.But different states are trying to do it as well.

    I dont like the idea of the state or its casino’s being in charge of online poker. I think it should be left up to privite business.

    Wondering what others thought.

    Thats my two cents

  15. MattWaldron

    So it is a bit more than meets the eye and a German scammer holed up in the US filtering payments through online poker? Looks like a clear case of why we need regulation and oversight.