In what is being heralded as a “brilliant article” regarding disgraced online gambling payment processor-turned informant, Daniel Tzvetkoff, Paul Toohey of the Courier Mail’s New York bureau suggests that the Australian is lucky to be alive based on the number of enemies he’s amassed in recent years. Two of the bigger companies he is alleged to have stolen funds from don’t crack knee caps but instead send their legal teams after you.
Tzvetkoff was arrested in Las Vegas nearly one year ago this week, charged with money laundering, bank fraud and conspiracy for processing $543 million in illegal Internet gambling earnings through his payment processing firm, Intabill. Much of his business was conducted with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, the world’s two largest online poker ventures.
Toohey spoke with Gambling911.com last week and suggested that at least one of the company’s Tzvetkoff conducted business with may have “tipped off authorities” regarding the Internet entrepreneur’s pending trip to the US. A handful of payment processors had already been apprehended by law enforcement during the months leading up to Tzvetkoff’s trip.
While claiming to be an average student, at 13 Tzvetkoff began a company with school mates to do 3D and cartoon animation and web design.
By 16, he had won a contract to animate cartoons for The New York Times' website, which kickstarted his foray into online commerce in the US.
He soon had it all. He owned a Bentley, two Lamborghinis, a Ferrari, a classic Ford GT40 and several older Mustangs, and paid a record-setting $28 million for a Mermaid Beach property.
All that's gone now. But he's still got his genius.
After initially being granted bail in Las Vegas, then denied such bail in New York, Tzvetkoff and his lawyers arranged a “secret hearing” with prosecutors, specifically Assistant US Attorney Arlin Devlin-Brown. Citing Tzvetkoff’s “newfound spirit of cooperation”, The Australian payment processor was suddenly out on bail.
A former friend of the so-called “boy genius” tells Toohey: "He knows how to reverse-engineer transactions to determine its original source," says a former acquaintance.
"Technically, he's quite brilliant. He's learnt it since he was a kid. You can't get taught this stuff.
"He's got immense knowledge, the most knowledgeable guy on the planet, and PokerStars and Full Tilt have under-estimated that. You can't buy that sort of knowledge. He learnt it online.
"He was making money at 16 online, pressing transactions, dealing with online providers."
All recent documents relating to his case are sealed in the US Federal Court and strictly off-limits. Though Gambling911.com was awarded access to documents involving the ongoing investigation into processors by a New York Circuit Judge, The Honorable Laura Taylor Swain allowed prosecutors to redact specific names and related information that could affect such an investigation.
The Tzvetkoff matter has plenty to do with why so many online poker players are complaining about slow pays coming from both Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, as widely reported on the Gambling911.com website. Follow Gambling911.com on Twitter Here
“Hell of an article!” declared one industry operator familiar with the Tzvetkoff situation.
The article is indeed riveting and we invite you to take a look yourself here.
- Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher