Full Tilt Poker CEO Arrested

07/06/2012
By Tommie ClarkGoogle
This past week, after landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York from a trip to Ireland, Full Tilt Poker CEO Raymond Bitar was arrested by FBI agents after willingly handing himself into custody. Full Tilt was a top rated online casino games site with players from around the world.
 
Bitar stated, “I know that a lot of people are very angry at me. I understand why. Full Tilt should never have gotten into a position where it could not repay player funds.”
 
Earlier, Bitar entered a not guilty plea for the federal charges against him, which include conspiracy to violate gambling laws, operation of an illegal gambling business, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 145 years in jail for operating a Ponzi scheme that has cost poker players millions of dollars.
 
Bail was set at $2.5 million, despite objections from prosecutors who said that he should be held without bail because he is a potential flight risk.
 
Assistant U.S. Attorney Devlin-Brown accused Bitar of taking at least $40 million from player funds for himself. Devlin-Brown stated that the charges filed against Bitar on April 15, 2011, known as Black Friday, when the three largest online poker companies operating in the U.S. were closed, would only have sentenced Bitar to minimal time in prison. However, the U.S. Attorney office says that despite the charges filed last year, Bitar continued taking money from new players outside the US.
 
Assistant U.S. Attorney Devlin-Brown said, “By then this company was little more than a Ponzi scheme, and his presence was needed to keep it from unraveling.”
 
Bitar claims that he “worked hard” during the last year to determine the best ways to get poker players repaid. He stated, “Returning today is part of that process. I believe we are near the end of a very long road, and I will continue to do whatever is required to get the players repaid, and I hope that it will happen soon.”
 
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