Well-Known Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar ArrestedTuesday, July 3rd, 2012 by Ryan
Ever since Full Tilt Poker found themselves in the news for all of the wrong reasons, it seems that things have just continued to spiral downwards for almost everyone involved in-depth with the site. This of course includes the CEO of the site Ray Bitar, who ended up surrendering to United States law enforcement officials today, far surpassing a year after he was officially charged with money laundering, bank fraud, and illegal gambling offenses relating to the popular site Full Tilt Poker in the Black Friday crackdown in online poker all across the US.
When he was eventually arrested it was at the John F. Kennedy International Airport, and when he was put in front of the federal court in Manhattan he pleaded not guilty to the charges that were placed down on him. An interesting email came out from a Two Plus Two forum member who apparently works for one of the online poker sites in Full Tilt or PokerStars, as he or she posted an email that was sent from Bitar to the Full Tilt Poker staff members.
The email stated quite a few things, but stated that Bitar had “returned to the US to deal with civil and criminal case that are pending against” him. He went on to stay that everyone with the company has “worked hard over the last 15 months to preserve Full Tilt’s assets and potential in order to provide for the repayment of all players, and that continues to be our top priority.” Bitar also mentioned the deal with PokerStars in the email as well, saying that he hoped that the deal would happy “very soon and make our goal a reality”, and also that his going back to the United States was partially because of the new potential deal.
If you are curious about the legitimacy of the email above, the same person who broke the news of this email is also the one who broke the news about the potential deal with PokerStars purchasing Full Tilt as well.
The situation that Bitar finds himself in is one that is going to get a ton of heat, especially from the players at Full Tilt Poker who still have money locked up online. The statements that are coming out about the situation say that Full Tilt used players funds in ways that they should not have, and also had issues with payment processors as well during their time being up and running. Instead of freezing deposit requests or taking the right course of action here, they decided to credit players accounts with money even though they never actually had received any money at all. This is where the issue of the missing $130 million comes into play from Full Tilt, and the problem for Bitar is that he apparently new of all of the financial issues that the site was having, but continue lying about them.
Bitar will be facing nine counts, two relating to the UIGEA, one count of Conspiracy to Defraud Banks, three counts of Wire Fraud, one count of Operation of Illegal Gambling Business, and finally two counts of Money Laundering. If he is found guilty of all, he could potentially be looking at a max of 145 years in jail.