Wednesday October 15,2014 : U.K. POKER ACE FACING FRAUD AND COLLUSION CHARGES
Darren Woods in Sheffield Crown Court over alleged online poker offences.
Darren Woods, a 29-year-old experienced British online and tournament poker player, is currently facing fraud and collusion charges in Sheffield Crown Court relating to his online poker activities, reports the Grimsby Telegraph.
Woods can claim some impressive poker achievements in the past, including a 2011 WSOP Las Vegas win of $213,000, but stands accused of using false identities to compete unfairly in online poker tournaments to the prejudice of other players and the operators.
He is alleged to have dishonestly profited by many thousands of pounds sterling from his activities.
Prosecutors allege that Woods disguised his identity through using identities that were not his and secretly using different computers and buying virtual private networks to foil security checks, the court heard this week.
He denies 13 fraud charges brought against him in connection with activities between January 2007 and January 2012.
Woods' father, property developer Morteza Gharoon (56) denies being jointly concerned with Woods in four of the alleged frauds, and another charge of money laundering, through credit billings, on behalf of Woods.
Prosecutor Alasdair Campbell, told the court that Woods allegedly made improper use of internet poker sites by pretending to gaming companies that he was somebody else.
"He was able to defeat the sophisticated methods employed by those companies to prevent multiple accounting and collusion," said Campbell, claiming that Woods used other people's identities to gain commissions above what he would have been allowed to do if he had been using just his own name.
Woods and Gharoon are alleged to have used the names and details of real people to open accounts with online gaming companies and money processors for online poker games, said Campbell.
Woods allegedly "made money" from the fraudulently-opened accounts by playing at the same online poker table at the same time using different identities, giving him an advantage because he would unfairly know the hands of some of the other players.
Campbell said that Woods had "so many accounts" in different names that he was able to generate commissions or fees that he would not otherwise have been able to do.
He was "rewarded" through commission payments from online gaming companies by "channelling money through the gaming site" involved.
Campbell claimed that Woods made GBP 147,266 in commission fees during one period taking in 2010 to 2011.
The case continues.