Things do not seem to be looking very good former Full Tilt Poker CEO Raymond Bitar. After being granted bail last week, it has been revealed that he will be required to stay in jail as he fails to meet his bond requirements.
The situation has been quite complex, as Bitar has spent at least the last year in Ireland, after his website, Full Tilt Poker, was indicted on Black Friday. The website and its owners were brought up on charges of running an illegal gambling operation and defrauding players. Rather than facing the music in America, Bitar spent time in Ireland. Now that he has turned himself in, American authorities do not want to lose sight of him again. As such, his bail was raised from $250 000 to $2.5 million.
$1 million of the total was required to be paid in cash; however, Bitar could not come up with the money and has been forced to spend time in jail.
New information has also been revealed about Bitar’s involvement in Full Tilt Poker’s Ponzi scheme. According to federal documents, Bitar was well aware that Full Tilt was running a Ponzi scheme, paying the owner’s salaries with player deposits rather than the website’s profits. It has been revealed that Bitar claimed $40 million for himself; however, the current whereabouts of the money are unknown.
As it stands, American players are owed a total of $350 million. Unlike PokerStars (also indicted on Black Friday), Full Tilt was unable to refund its players as their deposits were tied up in the Ponzi scheme. Bitar has claimed that his first priority is paying players back. However, with $40 million taken from the website, Bitar’s claims do not seem entirely genuine.
The future of Full Tilt Poker is still up in the air. No new potential investors have stepped forward, and the website’s owners have yet to offer a new solution for repaying players. So, it may be quite some time before Full Tilt Poker relaunches – if ever.