Poker’s Darkest Friday Nearly 10 Years Old

By Ben Hamill - May 10 2020
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Poker’s Darkest Friday Nearly 10 Years Old

PokerStars former CEO and founder Isai Scheinberg’s March plea and guilty verdict was likely the beginning of the end of what will forever be known as Poker’s own Black Friday saga. The once-respected online Poker boss earlier this year eventually entered a plea of guilty to multiple charges brought against him as a result of his central involvement in various indictments brought against him resulting from what is widely recognised as having been one of the most extensive cluster-acts of fraud and illegal gambling ever committed.

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Scheinberg pled guilty to charges ranging from fraud to money laundering to having contravened various U.S. banking and gambling laws during his involvement with online Poker fraud closely linked to Australian-based payment solutions provider Intabill.

Scheinberg finally in March honoured an order to appear at court to face his fate after he had dodged legal court processes ever since 2011 when the entire Black Friday saga blew up in everyone’s faces. The reason Scheinberg offered to presiding U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah L. Cave for his change of heart was that of his having realised that he had reached an advanced age (Scheinberg is 73) and was fast becoming increasingly less able to dodge the proverbial bullet by travelling up and down between the U.S. and Canada. All of this had led him to surrender himself to law enforcement authorities in January of this year.

Been Too Long

Since Poker’s Black Friday case has been coming for well over a decade now, having been closely tied to 2010’s Intabill saga, its high time the entire thing is finally laid to rest. Scheinberg is but the final target in a worn out and arduous affair that saw to it that big industry names like John Campos, Ira Rubin and Chad Elie were made to pay the brunt of the price. These were after all the men found guilty of having had contravened the banking laws contained in the U.S.’s 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

After the individual involvement had been dealt with, the court turned its attention to executives from a number of online Poker operators, including PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker. A number of sly and disgraced executives ended up walking away with millions in illicit online Poker players’ funds. But fate looked especially unkindly upon PokerStars and Isai Scheinberg. The operator eventually did manage to pay back all existing balances to affected U.S. players, but even still, those affected had insisted that Scheinberg pay some form of penance for his individual involvement.

The Final Countdown

It all came to long-awaited end when Scheinberg finally turned himself over to Swiss authorities in January, after which he was extradited to New York in order to be charged and sentenced. Scheinberg will hopefully, barring any more unexpected anomalies, be sentenced in September, which will effectively lay to rest the years that had led to one of Poker’s darkest days.

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