Schemer Helps Poker Sites Launder Billions

02/29/2012
By Pamela PattersonGoogle

Ira Rubin has pleaded guilty to assisting online poker operators in the illegal transfer of billions of dollars overseas.  The money was illegal gambling proceeds earned from American players.  Rubin had been charged with money laundering, bank fraud, wire fraud, and offenses related to gambling.  He stands to go to jail for up to fifty five years.  His sentencing is scheduled for May 17, 2012.

 

Rubin’s name originally came up last year in what it is known in the online gambling community as “black Friday” (April 15, 2011).  The three largest online casino games websites operating in the U.S., Absolute Poker, Full Tilt Poker, and Pokerstars, had their .com domain names seized by the FBI.  The U.S. Department of Justice claimed that they violated the 1961 Federal Wire Act and they were shut down.  While prosecuting the three companies and other individuals, Rubin was charged as well.  Preet Bharara, a U.S. attorney working on the case, said that as part of his plea deal, Rubin admitted to disguising the companies’ financial transactions as transactions for jewelry, clothing, and other merchandise in order to avoid the Wire Act.

 

The online poker site operators turned to Rubin because the banks were not willing to work with online casino gambling sites.  They would not process their payments or assist in other types of transactions.  The sites therefore turned to third parties like Rubin in order to smuggle the proceeds overseas.

 

Prosecutors added that Rubin has an extensive criminal record dating back four decades and including over 24 criminal offences. 

 

Those in favor of USA online casinos say that this case proves the importance of clear legislation that creates a legal framework for regulating online gambling in America.

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