Black Friday Money Launderers Set to Stand Trial, But What About the Full Tilt Mob?

by Lou on February 9, 2012

John Campos and Chad Elie—both charged with violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) and conspiracy to engage in money laundering as part of Black Friday’s indictments—are scheduled to stand trial in New York this spring following a federal judge’s refusal to dismiss the charges.

Elie allegedly opened bank accounts allowing online poker sites to take payment from US players.  Campos was an officer, director and part-owner of a Utah bank that processed online poker transactions.

While the Department of Justice’s reversal on its interpretation of the 1961 Wire Act and the argument as to whether poker constitutes “gambling” will likely be raised at the trial, they were not enough, according to Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan, to dismiss any charges.  Kaplan said, […] a pretrial motion to dismiss an indictment is not a permissible vehicle for addressing the sufficiency of the government’s evidence.”

Meanwhile, Ian Imrich, Chris Ferguson’s attorney, expects to have his case settled early in 2012.  If this is true, it’s a far cry from the September allegations by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York that accused Chris Ferguson, as well as Full Tilt CEO Ray Bitar (pictured) , Howard Lederer and Rafe Furst of defrauding poker players out of $440 million.

When you look at the impact of the allegations against Campos and Elie and compare them to those of the Full Tilt Mob, they pale by comparison.  The money allegedly taken by the Full
Tilt Mob caused much more harm and dislocation than the Campos-Elie transactions, and when I read that Ferguson is “close to settling”—a statement I interpret as, “It will cost him some money but he will walk”—while Campos and Elie are facing trial for what appear to be crimes of much smaller magnitude and impact, I’m shocked.

I simply don’t understand why Ferguson, Lederer, Furst, and especially Ray Bitar are not facing trial and jail time for their actions.  While there may be civil actions the DoJ feels are better off negotiated, there appears to be real evidence of crimes committed here, and we’d all be better off if those accused of them have their day in court.

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