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  • Ex-Full Tilt CEO Ray Bitar Pleads Guilty

    Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 by Ryan

If you’re a fan of poker, there’s more than a good chance that you’ve probably been keeping up to date with the whole situation behind the old Full Tilt Poker and their former CEO in Ray Bitar. Bitar was the leader of the massive online poker site, which was a site that was constantly duking it out with PokerStars for the top spot in the rankings. The whole thing fell apart though when it was called a “Ponzi scheme”, and we found the site getting shut down while owing players a ton of money, an amount that still hasn’t been handled in full to this day. Fortunately for Full Tilt Poker, the site was purchased by PokerStars and has made a full rise from the ashes back to second place in the rankings thanks to paying back players and many other things. Things haven’t gone as well for Bitar though, which is where our story here begins.

The attorney for Bitar showed up in a Manhattan court on Monday, and Bitar did the same from a video in Los Angeles. Bitar stated that he was going to be pleading guilty for the two felony charges that were up against him after the Black Friday incident. It was exactly two years ago from this time that it all happened, and that was when the downfall began of Full Tilt Poker. As far as the charges against Bitar go, he is looking at a Violation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, and also a Conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. These are both obviously huge deals, and they are things that we are all awaiting to hear the final sentence of, but it’s likely that he could be looking at some serious time.

In total, the counts that he has against him are going to feature him looking at a maximum sentence of 35 years, and he could have an additional eight years on top of that of probation. The guidelines that are set up for the sentencing though are going to feature him having to spend no more than eight years in prison, but even though the potential sentence is a long one, the defense team of Bitar had apparently come to an agreement that would allow him to plead guilty to the charges and end up not having to spend any time at all in jail.

A large part of why the deal ended up happening is due to what has happened just recently to Bitar. The reason why this deal led to Bitar not having to serve jail time is because back in November he was diagnosed with a critical untreatable heart condition, that is classified as Class IV heart failure. The information that is given about this from the American Heart Association is that a patient in this situation can not partake in any physical activity without having some type of discomfort along with it. The chances of survival that he was given over the next 6-12 months are only 50 percent, unless he is able to have an artificial heart or a heart transplant at some point very soon.

While the deal was agreed to, that does not mean that the Judge had to accept the guilty plea. She did end up doing so though, and also agreed to the sentencing that was set for him as well. Instead of him having to get any prison time, he was sentenced to time served, which was the one week in July 2012 before he was released on bail, and he will also lose basically everything that he has. He has made $40 million at Full Tilt, which will now be gone, to go along with any real estate and investments as well. He is going to have to give up his house also.

This has been a long time coming on the trial, and Bitar will now have to get his life together from the ground up, and remain hopeful to get a heart transplant or artificial heart at some time in the very near future. This may be the sentencing for Bitar, but it’s likely that it won’t be the end of the story relating to all of this.




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