Brent Beckley, the 31-year-old owner of Absolute Poker, has pleaded guilty Tuesday to the criminal charges of bank fraud filed against him by the US Department of Justice (DoJ). Reportedly, Beckley had cheated US banks on the issue of processing poker-related funds.
At a hearing held in a federal court in Manhattan, Beckley stated that he is indeed guilty of breaking the country’s online gambling laws and of conspiring to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.
The DoJ has indicted a total of twelve people in this case, of which eleven were indicted in mid-April when the country’s law-enforcement agencies cracked down upon Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and PokerStars and confiscated their domain names.
Raymond Bitar, the owner of Full Tilt Poker; Isai Scheinberg, the owner of PokerStars, and Scott Tom and Beckley, the owners of Absolute Poker were booked for breaking the country’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 and other gambling laws.
Beckley admitted before Ronald Ellis, the US magistrate judge, that he received credit cards payments from players wishing to play real money poker at Absolute Poker from 2006 to 2011 and altered records so that they stated that the money was accepted for some other purpose. He admitted, “I knew it was illegal to deceive the banks in this way.”
Beckley can be sentenced for 30 years if found guilty of bank fraud; however, since he pleaded guilty, he can get away with a much lighter sentence of 12 months to 18 months.
According to the DoJ’s complaint, Beckley hired Ira Rubin, a payment processor, to assist Absolute Poker dodge the country’s gambling laws. Rubin processed eChecks under the guise of processing payrolls and as affiliate marketers and Internet electronic merchants, stated the indictment. According to his lawyer, Rubin, who has been hiding from another fraud charge in Central America for years, is close to pleading guilty.
According to US federal prosecutors, the indicted online poker companies fooled US banks into processing billions of gambling dollars, one-third of which was received by the companies in the form of rake on every hand they played.
The federal government has also filed a civil complaint against Full Tilt Poker’s professional players and owners; accordingly, Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer stand accused of lacing their pockets with $440 million after cheating Full Tilt Poker’s loyal players. The DoJ also amended its complaint, labeling Full Tilt Poker as a global Ponzi scheme.