The Black Friday poker crackdown gets more compelling with each case submitted to court. Ever since the case began in April 2011 there have been 11 men indicted for their illegal work with PokerStars.net, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker; in all cases they are accused of taking “illegal bets” from online players in the U.S that were funneled through the organizations in what judges have called a “global Ponzi scheme.”
The latest count of fraud puts one indicted defendant Chad Elie and his assets in court’s hands for his admission of guilt; but also those of his wife, a former Playboy playmate with a $1.5 million home the courts deemed “forfeitable” if her husband broke his bail conditions. It was reported that Elie married Destiny Davis the day after his bail hearing in Las Vegas after she provided her signature necessary for his $250,000 bail. He was sentenced on October 3 to five months in prison while also being ordered to submit $500,000 as part of his punishment; what may and could happen to his wife’s estate is yet to be determined.
Elie was a payment processor for the poker companies acting as a middleman to handle the money that U.S banks under law were unable to process themselves due to the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Prosecutors for the entire Black Friday case including Preet Bharara, an attorney for the Southern District of New York, allege Elie and the other accused used billions of dollars from U.S. online gamblers to shell phony corporations as a way to disguise the flow of payment to the poker companies.
The court received evidence that in 2008 Elie opened a bank account that was fraudulently used to process payments to PokerStars. He also was somewhat responsible for the closing of three U.S banks by offering to invest in them if they would agree to process online poker transactions. As a result when announcing Elie’s sentence Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said there was “a deliberate or at least criminally reckless spitting in the eye of the government and laws of the United States.”
Elie is now one of seven defendants in the Black Friday case to have pled guilty for his crimes; Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar is pleading not guilty to the charges laid against him while 3 other men remain at large.