For over a year, former Full Tilt Poker CEO Raymond Bitar has avoided the American authorities. He has spent time in Ireland, where the company was based during its last years, but has finally turned himself in. Facing charges of running an illegal gambling operation and defrauding players, Bitar’s sentencing has been scheduled for July 23, 2012.
This is big news for the online poker world, as we have not heard much from Bitar and Full Tilt Poker for quite some time. He and the 11 others facing charges associated with the crackdown on Full Tilt Poker all but disappeared over the course of the past year, and there have been few developments in the case. Now, things are finally moving forward, as Bitar has decided to show his face in the United States.
If case you need a refresher, Full Tilt Poker was one of three sites that were indicted on Black Friday. Absolute Poker and Poker Stars were the two others. All three were accused of running illegal gambling operations, but Full Tilt Poker was charged with a number of other offenses, including fraud. All Ultimate Bet and Poker Stars had to do was refund American players and pull out of the American market, but Full Tilt was in a lot more trouble.
Full Tilt Poker was accused of being a Ponzi scheme. This means that Full Tilt Poker’s owners allegedly used player deposits to line their pockets, rather than using the profits from the site. In addition to being the reason why the site was unable to refund its American players, the Ponzi scheme is also a serious offense and presents some strict potential prosecution for those associated with it.
After turning himself in, Bitar has pleaded not guilty to fraud and running an illegal online gambling operator. His sentencing will take place on July 23, 2012 and his bail has been set a $2.5 million. He will be required to stay in jail until his bail has been made. All eyes will be watching this case as it develops, and we will keep you updated as the story progresses.