Absolute Poker Founder Brent Buckley No Rat Says Website

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Absolute Poker Founder Brent Buckley No Rat Says Website

The founder of an online poker website, Brent Buckley, plead guilty on Tuesday to violation of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and money laundering/bank fraud.  As a result, he is expected to serve up to 18 months in prison.  Based on past cases involving similar charges, it is doubtful Mr. Buckley will serve more than a year behind bars.  Buckley was among those charged April 15 as part of a multiyear investigation into three online poker ventures including Mr. Buckley’s Absolute Poker/UB.com.  Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars executives were also charged and remain on the lam. 

The Pokerati.com website speculates that Buckley is unlikely to be acting in the capacity of a cooperating witness for the Federal government

Pokerati.com speculates that another defendant, payment processor Bradley Franzen, may be assisting the US Government as there is no longer a mention of his sentencing related to this case: 

One of the more intriguing parts of the US Attorney’s press release is the following sentence: “He [Mr. Beckley] is scheduled to be sentenced by United States Judge Lewis A. Kaplan on April 19, 2012, at 4:00 pm.”

Why is that interesting? Because I think it might indicate that Brent Beckley is not (or at least is not thus far) a co-operating witness for the government. I think he’s made his guilty plea to the court, thereby admitting his own involvement, but without rolling over on anyone else.

Compare what we know about Mr. Beckley with what we know about Bradley Franzen’s deal. Recall that Mr. Franzen pled guilty in May of this year to three counts in connection with the same criminal indictment: conspiracy to commit bank fraud; conspiracy to accept funds in connection with unlawful Internet gambling; and, conspiracy to commit money laundering. When is Mr. Franzen’s sentencing? If you look at the bottom of page 2 of the press release, it says that the hearing has yet to be scheduled. That’s actually not quite right. When Mr. Franzen pleaded guilty in May, a sentencing hearing was set for late summer. There is no mention of what happened to that hearing on the court docket, but it does seem clear that it never happened and that it has not yet been rescheduled. So it was originally scheduled; it just hasn’t taken place yet.

One interpretation of this is that Mr. Franzen’s sentence is contingent on what he provides to the Department of Justice.

The man suspected of helping the US Government arrive at its charges against executives of Absolute, Full Tilt and PokerStars, Australian payment processor Daniel Tzvetkoff, is believed to be entered into a witness protection program.

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher