Full Tilt Poker Bank SunFirst is Struggling

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Aug/01/2011
Full Tilt Poker Bank

Troubled SunFirst Bank in St. George, Utah may be on the brink of a US Government takeover.  This is the same bank that found itself indicted on April 15 in connection with the processing of online poker transactions for Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and UB.com.  The US Justice Department alleges that SunFirst misrepresented said transactions as payments for golf balls and dog food. 

Too big to fail?  Hardly!

SunFirst is a relatively small bank in the whole scheme of things.  Nevertheless, they were the biggest homegrown lender in St. George (population: 72,897).

So far, 58 banks have failed this year and SunFirst appears to be teetering on the brink, according to The Salt Lake City Tribune.

Two years ago, the FDIC ordered SunFirst to take steps to find more capital and apparently that’s exactly what they did by aligning themselves with the big three online poker companies. 

The order, still in force, seems to have put SunFirst on a path that resulted in a federal indictment last April of its vice chairman, John Campos, for allegedly arranging to process Internet poker transactions through the bank in return for a massive infusion of fresh capital .

The order also may have moved the bank to sell stock to Jeremy Johnson, the St. George businessman and philanthropist who now sits in the Davis County jail accused of mail fraud by a federal grand jury. The Federal Trade Commission also has alleged in a lawsuit that he defrauded consumers out of $275 million through a massive Internet marketing scam.

And with the bank’s finances continuing to unravel, bank President John Allen has been demoted. Allen’s successor, Gerry Smith, waits on the sidelines while the FDIC and Utah Department of Financial Institutions weigh whether to permit him to take over the top job. Meanwhile, the SunFirst board, presumably including Campos, is in charge of daily operations.

The Salt Lake City Tribune studied public financial records, which show the bank continues to struggle. 

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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