NEW YORK, July 23 An owner of Absolute Poker,
one of the three largest Internet poker companies, was sentenced
to 14 months in prison on Monday after admitting to deceiving
banks over the processing of gambling proceeds.
Brent Beckley, 32, joined Costa Rica-based Absolute Poker in
2003 and became its head of payment processing. Last December,
he pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to conspiring to
break U.S. laws against gambling on the Internet. He also
pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud
and wire fraud. [ID: nL1E7NKCPP]
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said Beckley deserved
prison time despite his surrender and cooperation because "the
sentence has to make clear that the government of the United
States means business in these types of cases."
"I fooled myself into thinking that what I was doing was
OK," Beckley told the judge.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have charged 11 people at
the three biggest online poker companies: Absolute Poker, Full
Tilt Poker and PokerStars. The U.S. government also seized their
Internet domain names.
The chief of Full Tilt Poker, Raymond Bitar, surrendered to
U.S. authorities earlier this month and pleaded not guilty to
charges of illegal gambling and that the online poker operator
defrauded its players.
The case is USA v. Tzvetkoff et al, U.S. District Court for
the Southern District of New York, No. 10-cr-0336.
(Reporting by Basil Katz; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)