Brent Beckley, one of the owners of Absolute Poker pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to contravene U.S. anti-internet gambling laws, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Absolute Poker was one of the biggest online poker sites operating in the U.S. when federal authorities cracked down on Black Friday, April 15, and seized the company’s internet domain name and assets associated with the domain name. The operations of two other major online poker websites – Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars – were also shut down as part of the federal action.
Owners, directors and other associates of the three companies were charged under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and other U.S. laws.
Brent Beckley, part owner of Absolute Poker, told Judge Ronal Ellis that under the name of Absolute Poker he facilitated internet betting by accepting credit card payments from players. To proceed with the processing of these payments he misrepresented the purpose of these payments. Beckley agreed that he was aware of the illegal nature of his activities.
To ensure the processing of the credit card payments he employed a specialist “payment processor”, Ira Rubin, who processed the e-checks by fraudulently disguising them as payroll processing and affiliate marketing and by misrepresenting Absolute Poker as online electronics merchants. Rubin has been evading arrest on telemarketing fraud charges by hiding in Central America.
Beckley reportedly has struck a plea bargain that will see him serve only between 12 and 18 months as against the possible maximum of 30 years in prison that bank fraud charges carry. Ira Rubin is also close to striking a plea deal, according to his lawyer.
According to the prosecution, the poker companies collected billions of dollars of bets from players and roughly one third or more of this money went as revenue to the companies.