Isai Scheinberg Sentenced

By Ben Hamill - September 26 2020
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Isai Scheinberg Sentenced

A U.S. federal judge has sentenced online Poker offender and PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg to a $30,100 fine and suspended prison time over his involvement in online gaming operations after the coming into force of America’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Act.  

Even though a controversial matter many years in the making, the Black Friday saga involving PokerStars, Full Tilt, and Ultimate Bet/Absolute Poker saw the ex-PokerStars big wig let off the judicial hook in a noticeably light and unburdened way – not unlike many of the other defendants. Initially likely to face up to 5 years behind federal prison bars, Scheinberg’s “get out of jail card” turned out to be the fact that PokerStars at the end of the day provided settlements not only to its own players, but also to those players whose accounts had been frozen by Full Tilt and Ultimate Bet/Absolute Poker.

Still – considering that Scheinberg in 2014 sold the Canadian big-gaming company for $4.9 billion, the fine he’s now being ordered to pay won’t exactly have him begging for food money any time soon.

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The January Give-Over

The 73-year-old in January this year approached the U.S. Department of Justice, agreeing to surrender himself to local law enforcement authorities in New York after a time spent defected to Switzerland. This was after he had reportedly reached a deal with local prosecutors. The 11 charges brought against the ex-PokerStars founder included fraud, several counts of running an illegal online gambling operation, and even money laundering.

Though Scheinberg’s initial defense was one of a plea of not guilty, he has since his January give-over pleaded guilty to all 11 remaining charges – which plea will in all likelihood have formed part of the deal reached with the prosecution.

Isai Scheinberg’s age too, no doubt created a reason for leniency in his particular case, with the judge reportedly during the handing down of the sentence having made specific reference to “what remains” of the accused’s life.

Thankful For Leniency

Scheinberg has in the meantime in response to the sentence issued a statement via Online Poker Report, expressed his gratitude at U.S. Federal Judge Kaplan for failing to impose a prison sentence as part of his punishment.

PokerStars, continued Scheinberg’s statement, played a crucial role in creating a regulated global Poker industry, and has furthermore treated its own players freely all throughout by doing business in an honest and open way.

Scheinberg said that he was especially proud of the fact that the Canadian online Poker giant had in 2011 when the online bomb first burst reimbursed not only its own players, but also players out of pocket as a result of other brands who either could not or did not for whatever reason, reimburse their own players in the same manner.

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