Isai Scheinberg the 73-year-old co-founder of Pokerstars made the Isle of Man his home for the last nine years, probably in part because it doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the United States. During this time the island has been the Headquarters of Pokerstars too.
Everything changed for Isai when he decided to take a trip to Switzerland a few months ago, the federal prosecutors launched extradition proceedings as soon as they caught wind of the wanted man’s movements and although he initially looked to re-sist these plans, Isai then decided to voluntarily fly to New York to face the music.
The Israeli-Canadian businessman was met by federal against that took him into custody and the court proceedings went ahead in the Manhattan Federal Court where Scheinberg pleaded not guilty and paid a $1,000,000 bail to be released without his passport, his representatives left the courtroom with no comments to the press.
Even though Scheinberg saved the Poker world from the huge debt of Full Tilt Poker not having $330,000,000 in funds for their players as he worked with the prosecutors to make a $731,000,000 deal that saw PokerStars acquire Full Tilt and settle the civil forfeiture proceeding.
This money from PokerStars was then used to re-pay Full Tilts cheated customers by the Justice Department, but still, after all this help to the powers that be and the community, the federal prosecutors never dropped any charges against Scheinberg.
Since then Mark Scheinberg his son went on to sell PokerStars for $4.9 Billion to Amaya Gaming in 2014.
This will finally close the chapter that started on a Friday in April 2011 that many Poker Players will remember as Black Friday, where people from all around the world logged into their Pokerstars and FullTilt accounts to receive a notice that “this domain has been seized by the FBI”.
Final Piece of the Puzzle
Since that day in 2011, 10 of the 11 people named in the indictment were sentenced after pleading guilty to charges that ranged from misdemeanours to bank fraud conspiracy. Some of the people involved got prison sentences, with the heaviest being three-years for one of the payment processors.
The punishments for the online poker operators were light however, Ray Bitar the CEO of FullTilt plead guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced to time served due to poor health even though he is still alive and well at this moment. Other Poker site owners like Calvin Ayre of Bodog and Scott Tom of Absolute pleaded guilty to and were sentenced to misdemeanour crimes with no prison time.
So it all turned out happily ever after for most of these big players that were riding a fine line of legalities with regards to allowing Americans to play poker online, so how will they treat the man that was behind PokerStars at this crazy time now they finally have him in the court system… only time will tell.
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