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  • Poker Players Have Money Confiscated by Customs in Bahamas

    Thursday, January 19th, 2012 by Ryan

This is probably one of more interesting poker news stories that has come out recently. It was reported that three poker players who were on their way back to the United States from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) in the Bahamas this past week were stopped by customs in the airport with quite a bit of money. Now, most poker players would be quite happy to come away from a big time tournament series with a good bit of money, and I’m sure that these three were as well. The issue is though, that there is a law where players can only have $10k in cash in order to go through customs without having any issues. The three players thought they were in the clear though, as they had $26k between three players, which is obviously below $10k per person. Unfortunately though, that’s not exactly how the law works.

The law actually applies to a family, and not just an individual. So what this means is that when the three family members (all poker players of course) went through with under $10k each, their family had over $10k. The three players were 18 year old Sean Ruane, his brother Michael Ruane (23 years old), and their cousin Thomas Freeman Jr (18 years old). When they went through customs, all three were detained by officials in the Bahamas for falsely declaring how much money they actually had with them heading through the airport. It seems that they did indeed know about the law, which is why they divided the money up, but did not know that the law applied to entire families and not just individuals.

The officials conducted a secondary because Sean appeared to be nervous, and began sweating quite a bit. From there, they were placed in front of a judge about the situation, who made the team sweat even more. The judge was Deputy Chief Magistrate Carolita Bethell, who was faced with the defense attorney stating that he would like the judge to waive the custodial sentence. When all was said and done, the three players decided to plead guilty to the charge that was handed to them, but all that was received from this was that the money was confiscated because of their clean records, and they were allowed to go back to the United States.

While it is unfortunate that the players had to hand over the money that they earned from playing in the PCA, it could definitely have been worse if there was a fine or any other type of sentence handed to them. The judge stated that the reason why there was nothing else handed down to the three men was because they did not “waste the court’s time and pleaded guilty”, and also because of the fact that they have no other convictions on their records. The judge summed it well when stating that the players simply had to fill out the form to be able to clear through with the money, but chose not to do so, which is why the money was confiscated.

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