Poker Site Co-Founder Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy

A federal crackdown on online poker sites continues to rake in chips. In a reported plea agreement, a man who co-founded the gambling site Absolute Poker pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. Federal regulators accused his organization of deceiving banks by masking customers’ gambling charges with names of online retailers.

The L.A. Times reports the man cut a deal that will land him a sentence of up to 18 months in prison at a sentencing hearing in April.

Back in April, the feds changed the face of online poker by shutting down three major online poker companies’ sites. The businesses’ founders were indicted on charges that included money laundering and bank fraud.

Online gambling is a beast that’s nearly impossible to slay, but regulators have taken steps to tame the wild beast, making gamblers think twice before anteing up.

Absolute Poker co-founder pleads guilty to conspiracy charges [L.A. Times]

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  1. Snoofin says:

    If someone wants to gamble why shouldnt they be allowed to. I dont think it shouldve been a crime to mask the name of the real company that people’s deposits were going to. I guess its only OK to gamble when the state benefits from the losses ie the lottery. Its not like they forced someone to gamble.

    But once again the nanny state has to step in and protect us from ourselves again. Cant gamble, cant eat what we want without paying extra tax, have to wear seat belts whether we want to or not, have to wear helmets when riding a motorcycle or bicycle whether we want to or not, cant smoke without being taxed to the hilt and treated like a pariah, etc… Im sick and tired of the government trying to protect us from ourselves. Other than smoking none of these things hurt anyone other than the person doing them

    • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

      I’m curious what merchant names they were using. Hopefully names of shell companies rather than using names of other bona fide companies (Amazon, Buy.com, etc). If they were using the names of other companies, I can see how this would create a mess for the other companies.

      “Honey, what’s this $1500 charge from Amazon on the Visa bill?”

      • JennQPublic says:

        Unless they were mis-using legitimate companies’ names, or defrauding their customers, I don’t see why it matters. Since when is my bank entitled to know exactly where or on what I’m spending my money?

        • Vermont2US says:

          It’s called money laundering.

          • JennQPublic says:

            I read the article, and it mentions bank and wire fraud, but not money laundering. It sounds like what he did ‘wrong’ was deceive the banks. I just don’t understand how that’s wrong- the banks would happily deceive you, me, him, and the government. Why is he required to be honest to the banks?

            I guess I feel like everyone should lie to banks, all the time, just to even things out.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      …and then your last statement totally derails any credibility you might have had…

    • JennQPublic says:

      How does being treated like a pariah for smoking have anything to do with the government? I don’t need the nanny state to tell me how bad you smell. And you smell awful.

      I agree with you, mostly, but not every negative consequences is the gubmint’s doing.

  2. nicless says:

    I think the more they shut down the Big Name sites, the more people will go to the shadier sites. It’s not like there isn’t a large group of people on the internet trying to take your money. Just legalize it and regulate it, it’s the only way that makes sense.

    • Vermont2US says:

      +1 A number of players on at least one of these sites felt it was rigged to maximize their rake. At least with decent regulation (and auditing!) you’d be somewhat assured that you weren’t being taken for a ride by the site. And the government would get tax revenue out of it if it were in the States.

    • Raekwon says:

      How do you make laws and regulate companies that have their servers and offices overseas?

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        If you made it legal so long as the servers were in the U.S., then you would see a proliferation of U.S.-based sites and the eventual downfall of foreign sites.

        Most of us just want to play poker online, and are perfectly happy jumping through a hoop or two to do it.

      • Vermont2US says:

        They get them for money laundering – i.e., transferring funds to overseas accounts under false pretenses or for online gambling purposes.

  3. Bsamm09 says:

    Legalize Gambling now.

    • Cat says:

      And pot and prostitution as well.

      • DariusC says:

        Seconded, nobody’s business but your own and it can bring us the jobs we need in this tough economy.

      • RStormgull says:

        This always reminds me of George Carlin (RIP). “Selling is legal. F**king is legal. Why isn’t selling f**king legal? If anything it seems like a bad business model! You’re selling something other people are giving away!”

        • nicless says:

          I always wondered if you could get away with filming the act and claiming you were paying an actor not a prostitute.

    • Gorbachev says:

      Gambling is perfectly legal. You can go to any casino in the country any time and gamble all you want perfectly legally.

      It’s because online gambling is threatening the gravy train of the casinos that they’re hunted down by the US Government. It’s business as usual.

  4. Gorbachev says:

    This is how the US Government spends their time.

    And in the meanwhile they’re busy looking very hard to the other direction while the banks cause a near collapse of the entire economic system by engaging in massive fraud.

    What a joke.

  5. damicatz says:

    Surely the government has better things to do then to send jack booted thugs after people who are gambling with their own money, in private.

    • Vermont2US says:

      Actually, they didn’t go after the gamblers. They went after the web site owners/operators.

      • damicatz says:

        Which is pure semantics. They went after the websites because they allowed people to gamble.

        • SteveZim1017 says:

          actually this had nothing to do with gambling, it had to do with conspiracy and banking fraud. Very serious offenses. I’m all for the government stopping people from lying to banks by claiming you are someone else in order to do something illegal.

          Now whether that illegal thing (gambling) should be illegal or not is another issue, and one which I have no problem with. But I agree with what the Feds did to stop this.

        • Bsamm09 says:

          Look chief, I’m not here to argue sublantics.

        • Vermont2US says:

          It’s not semantics. The players were under no threat at all from the feds, and the feds actually permitted the web sites to refund the player’s balances (Full Tilt is another story).

  6. Funklord says:

    Considering that at least one of the companies involved here appears to have been defrauding customers, I have no problem with the government stepping in:
    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/21/business/la-fi-online-poker-20110921