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Ray Bitar Remains Detained After US Magistrate Agrees to $2.5 Mil Bond

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jul/03/2012
Ray Bitar Remains Detained After US Magistrate Agrees to $2.5 Mil Bond

The disgraced former CEO of now shuttered Full Tilt Poker, Ray Bitar, remained behind bars on Tuesday after voluntarily turning himself in on Monday.  US law enforcement agents arrested Bitar at New York’s JFK Airport.  

Bitar engaged in what prosecutors described as a “ponzi scheme” though many familiar with the case believe Bitar’s activity was more akin to plain out-and-out theft and does not quite meet the definition of a ponzi scheme.  

Prosecutors say Full Tilt, founded in 2004, took in approximately $1 billion from players in the United States. They estimate that Full Tilt still owes $350 million to customers in the United States.  In email correspondences following the initial April 15, 2011 indictment against Bitar, the acting CEO instructed company employees to mislead customers around the world into believing the company was still solvent following its abrupt exit from the US market.

Prosecutor Arlo Devlin-Brown argued that Bitar's decision to stay in Ireland rather than face U.S. charges showed he was at risk of flight and that he should be denied bail. Devlin-Brown said that Bitar had remained in Ireland to operate Full Tilt's fraud against its players.

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"He was running it, I submit, because the company was at this point little more than a Ponzi scheme and he had to be there to prevent it from unraveling," said prosecutor Arlo Devlin-Brown.

On Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freedman agreed to release Bitar on $2.5 million bond under the condition that such bond be secured by $1 million in cash and/or property in addition to offering signatures from five financially responsible people. 

On Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Attorneys Office confirmed that Bitar remained in custody as he has not yet satisfied his bail conditions.

The 40-year-old has plead not guilty to nine criminal counts, including illegal gambling, money laundering and wire fraud charges.  If convicted, he could face over 100 years behind bars.

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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