PokerStars founder pleads guilty to running an illegal poker site
Isai Scheinberg finally has his day and court after dodging authorities for years
Isai Scheinberg has been avoiding prosecution for the last nine years, but has finally had to face the inevitable.
He appeared in court and pleaded guilty of running an illegal poker site, among other charges. This 73-year-old man is the founder of the popular online poker site PokerStars and has been in federal custody for the last couple of months before being taken in front of a New York federal court on Wednesday. His is the last prosecution of the people charged in the “Black Friday” poker scandal that indicted eleven people.
The sentencing still is pending, but Scheinberg is facing up to five years in prison, according to a press release from the US Attorney in New York’s Southern District, and Judge Lewis A. Kaplan’s sentencing will come at a later date. For this particular case, all other people who were accused also declared themselves guilty.
“Ten years ago, this Office charged 11 defendants who operated, or provided fraudulent payment processing services to, three of the largest online poker companies then operating in the United States – PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker – with operating illegal gambling businesses and other crimes,” US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. “As Isai Scheinberg’s guilty plea today shows, the passage of time will not undermine this Office’s commitment to holding accountable individuals who violate U.S. law.”
Pleading guilty for these accusations means that Scheinberg is acknowledging that operating an online poker site in the US was against both New York and federal law, and yet he continued to offer those online services for years. The other people involved in this matter were given sentences of no more than three years. Prosecutors charged the Israeli-Canadian businessman with bank fraud, money laundering and violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.