Another Man Arrested in Connection with Online Poker Crackdown

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By Susannah Nesmith


(Bloomberg) - Ira Rubin, one of 11 people charged with running illegal online gambling operations in the U.S., told a judge that he had “no idea” if a defense attorney was hired because he hasn’t made a phone call since his arrest in Guatemala on April 25.

“I signed an agreement with a lawyer in New York Friday,” Rubin told U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrea M. Simonton in Miami today at a hearing. “I have no idea whether he’s been paid as of yet. I haven’t been able to make a phone call since Monday.”

The judge called the attorney, Stuart Meissner, who confirmed that he hadn’t been paid. Simonton set a hearing April 29 to determine whether Rubin will hire a local lawyer to represent him for another hearing scheduled for May 2.

Rubin, dressed in a tan prison jumpsuit and with his hands shackled, was taken back to the Miami Federal Detention Center after the hearing.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan and Janice Fedarcyk, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s assistant director in charge in New York, announced on April 15 a revised indictment against the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.

PokerStars, based on the Isle of Man, Ireland’s Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker of Costa Rica are the leading online poker sites doing business with U.S. customers, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors allege that after the U.S. enacted a law in 2006 barring banks from processing payments to offshore gambling websites, PokerStars, Full Tilt and Absolute worked around the ban to continue operating in the U.S.

‘Trick’ Banks

The poker companies named in the indictment are accused of using fraudulent means to circumvent federal laws and “trick” banks into processing payments on their behalf. The government seeks at least $3 billion in forfeitures and penalties.

Rubin assisted the three poker companies by disguising payments to them as transactions with “phony Internet merchants,” according to the superseding indictment.

Rubin was charged with nine counts, including conspiracy to violate the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act; three counts of violation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act in connection with Pokerstars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker; three counts of operation of an illegal gambling business in connection with Pokerstars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker; conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering conspiracy.

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