Thursday, October 4, 2012 : ‘CATCH ME IF YOU CAN' ONLINE POKER CASH PROCESSOR GOES TO JAIL (Update)
Chad Elie gets five months in jail and a $500,000 forfeiture order
U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan showed once again this week that he views the activities of cash processors who assisted Black Friday indicted operators in a dim light, going beyond the prosecution's sentencing recommendations in punishing Chad Elie (32).
Despite a prosecution sentencing recommendation that Elie be sentenced to probation, six months of home confinement and community service, the judge sent the defendant to jail for five months and ordered that he forfeit $500,000. On completion of his jail sentence Elie will also have to serve two years of probation
Judge Kaplan said that Elie had played a "catch me if you can" game with the government, and allowing him to escape a prison sentence would not deter others from committing similar crimes.
During the hearing Elie apologised, saying, "I'm very sorry and regret my actions."
The judge responded, "Claims of remorse I in some respects credit, but not all."
He noted that evidence showed Elie "kept right on going" when federal authorities began making arrests in a case that resulted in charges against a dozen people, some of them overseas, where they helped PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker delude U.S. financial institutions.
Investigators claim that the defendants created false corporations and websites to make it appear that hundreds of millions of dollars in gambling proceeds were from other types of businesses.
"This entire case reflects a situation in which there was … a criminally reckless spitting in the eye of the government," the judge commented, adding that such conduct could not be overlooked.
Earlier this year Elie pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and to operate illegal gambling businesses, saying he served as a payment processor for all three companies at various times from 2008 through early 2011
Next up for sentencing on the Black Friday indictments is former Full Tilt Poker paymaster Nelson Burtnick, who entered a guilty plea on conspiracy and gambling charges before a magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan earlier this year.
Burtnick’s sentencing has been set for December 19. Last July, Absolute Poker founder Brent Beckley received a 14-month sentence, while fellow payment processor Ira Rubin was sentenced three years of imprisonment.