Full Tilt Poker May Have Thought They Were Above The Law

Written by:
Alejandro Botticelli
Published on:
Apr/17/2011
Full Tilt Poker

For the next year or two, expect to see the US Attorney’s Office out of the Southern District of New York focusing its attention on their “catch of the century”:  PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. 

“They’ll be spending the next few months preparing their case against these a** holes,” said one industry observer, who wished to remain anonymous. 

Full Tilt Poker execs financially supported the Poker Players Alliance at the behest of poker players who really cared about their favorite game.  Expect the PPA to finally do what it was set up to do:  Solicit funds from real players. 

Following passage of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in October 2006, an individual representing himself as part of Full Tilt Poker’s legal team called Gambling911.com and bragged about “how theycould buy a bank and process (Automated Clearing Houses) ACH’s”.

At the time, we thought this was one of their fantasies.  Come to find out Friday, they essentially did buy a bank, or at least invested in one

An indictment against PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker alleges executives from the company approached a small Utah-based bank about processing online payments for them in exchange for a significant investment into the financially troubled bank. 

After Gambling911.com parent company, Costigan Media, was awarded access to initial seizure warrants related to the investigation into Full Tilt and PokerStars, associates of Full Tilt Poker laughed off the charge by Assistant US Attorney Arlo Devlin-Brown, who initially started gathering up payment processors.

On Friday, the charges were handed down.  Execs for Full Tilt Poker were facing a maximum prison sentence of up to 50 years for Conspiracy and Fraud in conjunction with misrepresenting gambling charges and doing so with what prosecutors claim was a direct link to banking institutions as opposed to using intermediaries.   

 

She Made Jenny Woo Cry

 

In 2009, Gambling911.com blasted Full Tilt Poker for its arrogance, culminating with their efforts to have a comment removed from the website.

Following reports on the popular Pokerati.com website suggesting that poker cheat Russ Hamilton had been approached by the world’s second biggest online poker room, Full Tilt Poker rep Michele Clayborne demanded the article be removed from the Gambling911.com website. 

She called and unleashed her venom upon one of the industry’s most revered reporters, Jenny Woo.

"Who said Pokerati is a reputable source?" asked spokesperson Michele Clayborne.  "There are inaccuracies in that article".

The University of Southern California graduate, who managed Full Tilt’s poker pros, would not clarify the precise inaccuracies when asked repeatedly to do so. 

She was repeatedly asked to explain where Pokerati was getting its information, to which Ms. Clayborne reiterated they do not consider Pokerati a reputable source.
"We will not be talking to Gambilng911.com ever again!" she snarled in yet another phone call made by Gambling911.com Senior International Correspondent, Jenny Woo.  "Why don't you take that article down off the site?"  
Of course he demand was not met. 

Full Tilt Poker’s inability to properly communicate with customers during the later months of the Justice Department’s investigation has resulted in extensive complaints filed at the Gambling911.com website.

But Full Tilt Poker did not seem to care.  They were nonresponsive throughout much of this period.  Gambling911.com regularly received an average of four searches per every fifty related to “Full Tilt Poker Complaints” or “Full Tilt Poker Payment Problems”.

“Online gambling companies don’t always like dealing with Gambling911.com because we are not afraid to tell it like it is,” said Payton O’Brien, Senior Editor of the Gambling911.com , emphasizing that the site has maintained a civil relationship over they years with the other indicted company, PokerStars.

Full Tilt Poker’s arrogance resulted in the kinds of actions that agitate and cause the opposite reaction.  It is widely rumored that Full Tilt Poker tipped off the Feds when a former payment processor said to have screwed the company out of millions showed up in the United States at a Las Vegas conference.   Australian payment facilitator Daniel Tzvetkoff was already under investigation by the US Justice Department. 

Full Tilt Poker issued a statement hours after the indictment featuring a quote from CEO Raymond Bitar (named in the indictment along with colleague Nelson Burtnick.


“I am surprised and disappointed by the government’s decision to bring these charges. I look forward to Mr. Burtnick’s and my exoneration,” Bitar was quoted as saying. 

The problem Bitar has is that Tzvetkoff turned on Full Tilt Poker and provided the Feds with names of various shell companies he claims were used to disguise online poker transactions.  A partial list included the following: 

 

Intasupport.com800-444-6952

AGMFINANCE.COM +1 877 837 3775

OURBILLPAID.COM +1 866 791 0154

INETCOLLECT.COM +1 888 998 5627

NETBILLPAYMENT.COM +1 866 786 1725

PAYMENTSPARK.COM +1 866 860 0267

PAYMENTSCONNECT +1 866 861 4524

ARRANGEPAYMENT.COM +1 866 878 0627

IP-GMSALES.COM

POINTCOLLECT.COM +1-877-845-9374

SYSTEMCOLLECT.COM +1-866-791-0203

FINANCEAPPROACH.COM +1-866-921-5153

FINANCEATTRACT.COM +1-866-921-5147

OURBILLSUPPORT.COM +1-866-861-5178

COLLECTMARK.COM +1-866-835-7337

FEATUREPAY.COM +1-877-843-7924

CAMPANIAFINANCE.COM +1-866-876-6207

MYBANKCHARGE.COM +1-866-876-6209

MYCHECKCHARGE.COM +1-866-876-6215

MYRATEFINANCE.COM +1-866-876-6549

MYSHOPSUPPORT.COM +1-866-876-9021

MYSTATECHARGE.COM +1-866-878-0256

QUICKBILLME.COM +1-866-878-0259

QUICKPAYFINANCE.COM +1-866-878-0289

STATEMENTSUPPORT.COM +1-866-878-0290

SUPPORTWELCOME.COM +1-866-878-0291

PAYMENTSCONNECT.COM +1-866-861-4524

ARRANGEPAYMENT.COM +1-866-878-0627

 

Tzvetkoff, like other payment processors Full Tilt Poker’s lawyers insisted would not fold to pressure from the US Attorney’s Office, ultimately did just that. …and took down three online poker companies in the process. 

- Alejandro Botticelli, Gambling911.com

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