A Manhattan federal court judge sentenced Chad Elie, an online payment processor associated with the online poker rooms that were cracked down upon by the US federal government in mid-April last year, to five months of imprisonment. Elie had pleaded guilty to the charge of bank fraud leveled against him on March 2012.
Chad Elie had been the online payment processor for PokerStars, Absolute Poker, and Full Tilt Poker, which were shut down by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) in April last year. The DoJ had also indicted 11 key people associated with these sites of multiple charges such as illegal gambling, bank fraud, and money laundering. Regarding Elie Chad, the US DoJ had said that he “opened bank accounts in the United States, including through deceptive means, through which each of the poker companies received payments from US-based gamblers.”
On Wednesday, Preet Bharara, the US attorney for the New York Southern District, spoke about Chad Elie, who had opened accounts in US banks for PokerStars “payday loans.” He had also opened another account at yet another bank for funds related to “Internet membership clubs.”
Chad Elie was also associated with John Campos, who partly owned SunFirst Bank of Utah. Campos, who was also the former vice chairman of the board of directors at SunFirst Bank, agreed to process online poker funds in SunFirst Bank in exchange for funds from Elie. A federal judge had sentenced Campos to three years imprisonment this June.
Lewis Kaplan, US district judge, who had sentenced Elie to five months in prison, had presided over his guilty plea hearing in March. When Elie pleaded guilty, the judge asked him, “You are pleading guilty because you are guilty?” And Elie had replied, “Yes, your honor, I know that my conduct was wrong.” If Elie had not pleaded and was proved to be guilty, he would have got a sentence of five years in prison. However, he got only five months because he pleaded guilty.
Besides the prison sentence, Elie is required to give up his claims to the $25 million the DoJ seized from his bank accounts. He is also required to pay a fine of $500,000 and will be subjected to “supervised release” for two years.
Absolute Poker co-founder Brent Beckley and payment processor Ira Rubin had also pleaded guilty this summer. While Beckley got 14 months in prison, Ira Rubin got a 3-year term in prison.