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Absolute Poker fraudster living large in Costa Rica
With the Absolute Poker and UltimateBet cheating scandals still very much centre stage for the online poker player community, it's perhaps not surprising that characters allegedly involved in the scandal attract media coverage whenever they surface. One such individual is "AJ Green", also known as Allan Grimard, who was the subject of much discussion and conjecture at the height of the "hole card" debacle on which players still seek closure.
This week an online gambling information portal reported that Grimard is apparently living it large in Costa Rica, home to many online gambling companies. The mysterious Grimard is reported to be building a large home in Los Suenos, an upmarket Pacific coast resort in the area, driving a new and expensive SUV and sailing a "huge" yacht.
How a once low level supervisor at an online gambling company who later is alleged to have become involved with the poker company has managed to amass sufficient wealth to indulge in these projects remains a mystery. It has to be noted that Absolute Poker has not publicly identified Grimard as being involved in the scandal despite lengthy investigations by Gaming Associates and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.
Canadian born Grimard is alleged to have been a close college friend of the man widely regarded as the Absolute Poker founder, Scott Tom, and this was another familiar name that surfaced in the 911 report. The information portal claims that the AP investor for which a sealed US indictment is being held is Tom's father. It is not clear what charges are involved, and it does not appear that the indictment has achieved wide public coverage despite the multi-million dollar nature of the Absolute Poker hole card cheating scandal (see previous InfoPowa reports).
911 claims that it has been informed by insiders that none of Absolute Poker's management or investors are to travel to the United States for fear of further indictments, although Scott Tom is no longer involved with the company, which is now owned by former Kahnawake chief Joe Norton's Tokwiro Enterprises group.
Absolute Poker and UltimateBet recently announced a planned merger into a new, re-branded super-network titled Cereus. This is perhaps an unfortunate choice of branding, described as it is by Wikipedia as either a cactus or "Bacillus cereus - an endemic, soil-dwelling, Gram-positive, rod-shaped, beta hemolytic bacteria that causes foodborne illness!"
In other related developments, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, which licenses both Absolute Poker and UltimateBet, recently hired a former New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement director, and respected online gambling regulatory consultant, Frank Catania, to head a team investigating the cheating scandals at the two sites .
Judging by the high posting traffic across leading online poker message boards, the poker playing community does not appear to have achieved satisfactory closure on the controversial issues, probably the worst that have occurred in the relatively short history of online poker.
Although Tokwiro brought in the services of Gaming Associates to assess and recommend remedial measures, paid a $500 000 fine to the KGC in respect of the Absolute Poker debacle and addressed the complaints of prejudiced players, scepticism and doubt remains over the apparent lack of public exposure and pursuit of the perpetrators of the massive frauds. Many others emphasise the initial denialist reaction of the sites when players complained of cheating, something that was conclusively proved by expert player investigations, resulting in Tokwiro finally taking action.
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