A Canadian court has found Brian Funes guilty of masterminding the robbery of a live poker tournament in 2011.
Funes and Marcus Alexis, his accomplice, both residents of Mississauga in Ontario, planned to rob the players of a poker tournament that was being held underground in Brampton. The two men came to know of the tournament through a local flier. They gained entry into the Rozz Banquet Hall at Advance Boulevard, Brampton, and attacked the tournament director.
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Alexis threatened several innocent people who were just standing in the hallway before beginning to shoot. Poker player Nedd, who was shielding the tournament, was the first to be hit by a volley of bullets from Alexis’ gun. He died on the spot as the two men and another accomplice, who was just 14 years old at the time, fled with the money.
Funes got rid of the guns as well as the blood-stained clothes and convinced many witnesses to misdirect law-enforcement agencies and cover for them. In spite of his efforts, the police tracked down Alexis and booked him for first-degree murder. This led to the arrest of Funes. Since Alexis was convicted of murder, the judge sentenced him to a lifetime in prison. His accomplice in the meantime had to face manslaughter charges.
In March 2015, he was found guilty of being the mastermind of the robbery and of being present on the scene. This week, the judge gave him 11 years of imprisonment although the prosecution was demanding a sentence of 12 years for him.
Poker tournaments are rarely attacked in such a manner. However, the case does bring to mind of another incident, which took place at PokerStars’ European Poker Tour (EPT) Berlin in 2010.
Half-way through the event, a group of armed and masked men attacked the players and tried steal the $1 million collected as tournament fees. Although a security guard tried his best to restrain them, he could not prevent them from fleeing with the money. Some weeks later, the German police arrested several people with regard to this robbery. Although a rare incident, it changed the way live poker tournaments are organized in Europe. It also forced poker players to take better care of their bankrolls while taking part in live poker tournaments, which are highly promoted.
The family of Nedd, who was killed during the robbery, can find some consolation in the fact that his killer is behind bars.