Tuesday April 16,2013 : FORMER FULL TILT POKER BOSS SENTENCED
Bitar avoids jail time but will forfeit $40 million following guilty plea
Former Full Tilt Poker chief executive Ray Bitar was all over the US mainstream media again Monday, having formalised his guilty plea flowing from the Black Friday shutdown of the company two years ago.
Last week Bitar's legal representatives revealed that he would plead guilty and accept the forfeiture of some $40 million in cash and assets, but that he would throw himself on the mercy of the court to avoid jail time, due to a serious health problem that requires a heart transplant.
On Monday Bitar's plea was formalised by U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Preska in a Manhattan Court, with Bitar appearing via video link from California due to his poor health.
Judge Preska confirmed Bitar's guilty pleas on charges of fraud and violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, and the forfeiture requirement.
She also ruled that despite federal sentencing guidelines which called for imprisonment of over seven years, Bitar would not go to jail due to the parlous condition of his health. He was credited with time served in respect of the seven days he spent in detention following his arrest.
Bitar's plea included the admission that he conspired with others to find ways to process hundreds of millions of dollars of gambling revenues through U.S. banks by disguising the income as money generated by phony companies that seemed unrelated to gambling.
He said that he and others falsely promised customers that their money was safe and secure and that funds were held in segregated accounts.
“I regret my actions. I know they were wrong and illegal. I am very sorry,” Bitar said.