A judge gave a five-month sentence to Chad Elie, an online poker payment processor who pled guilty to deceiving banks to process transactions from poker sites.
Elie was among 11 individuals named in the Black Friday indictments that targeted Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and PokerStars. Following the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006, banks were barred from processing financial transactions to gambling websites. Elie was part of a scheme that created phony Internet businesses in order to mask the fact that payments were going to offshore gambling sites in order to circumvent the law.
In handing down his sentence, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said that Elie
really didn’t care whether what he was doing was legal, Bloomberg reported. The judge further stated that Elie was
playing a game with the government, a catch-me-if-you-can kind of game and that his crime
just can’t be overlooked and deserves a stint in jail.
Elie’s attorney requested a sentence of home confinement for six months, community service, and two years of probation, citing the fact that his client accepted responsibility for his crimes. But the judge said such a punishment would be much too lenient considering the fact that millions of dollars were processed illegally and that Elie and his co-defendants were
spitting in the eyes of the government and the laws of the United States.
Of the 11 indicted individuals, Elie joins six others–John Campos, Nelson Burtnick, Ira Rubin, Brent Beckley, Ryan Lang, and Bradley Franzen–who have pled guilty. Ray Bitar, the CEO of Full Tilt and alleged perpetrator of what prosecutors have called a “global Ponzi scheme” is the only one of the individuals charged to enter a not guilty plea. Bitar is out on bail and currently confined to his Glendora, California home under electronic home-monitoring. The three remaining indicted individuals–Scott Tom of Absolute Poker, and PokerStars’ Isai Scheinberg and Paul Tate–have not yet answered to the government’s allegations.
In addition to five months in the slammer, Elie was ordered to pay $500,000.
I’d just like to apologize to my family and friends for the pain and disappointment I caused them and ask for their forgiveness, Elie said to the court.