Black Friday Informant Sentenced to Time Served and $13 Million Fine

June 7, 2014

Thirty-one-year-old Daniel Tzvetkoff, who pleaded guilty in 2010 to one count conspiracy and one count operating an illegal gambling business, has avoided prison in New York this week. The Australian kingpen of online gambling transactions was sentenced on Wednesday for illegally processing gambling funds via US banks through several major online poker sites.

Tzvetkoff was accused of processing, via his company Intabill, roughly $500 million in online gambling transactions from players to gambling sites, disguising these transactions as non-gambling payments, unbeknownst to the US financial institutions through which players held bank accounts used to fund online poker accounts.

Since his arrest in 2010, Tzvetkoff has cooperated with investigations into online poker investigations that ultimately led to the Black Friday indictments of PokerStars, Full Tilt, and Absolute Poker owners and executives, which US District Judge Lewis Kaplan apparently took into consideration. Tzvetkoff was sentenced to time served and forfeiture of $13 million.

According to Tzvetkoff’s attorney, Robert Goldstein, Judge Kaplan had approved Tzvetkoff’s relocation to Australia, where he now works as the chief technical officer of a respectable organization.

In a phone interview, Goldstein stated, “Daniel is a capable, highly skilled and intelligent young man, and he looks forward to a productive, happy and quiet life with his family.”

Since Black Friday, eight of the 11 defendants have plead guilty and this includes former Absolute Poker owner Brent Beckley and fomer Full Tilt CEO Raymond Bitar. Charges against three of the indicted, including Israeli-Canadian PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg, are still pending.

In hopes to stay off the “bad actor” list PokerStars settled with US civil courts, agreeing to forfeit $731 million in restitution. PokerStars has taken over Full Tilt Poker and made good on their bad rep in hopes to be allowed back into the US online poker market at the state-regulated level. In fact, they have a close-knit coalition with the Morongo Band of Mission Indian tribe in hopes to get back on virtual US soil through California regulations of online poker. However, as an alleged “bad actor,” there is much opposition to their return. An agreement will have to be made to come to terms with this problem, as the Morongo tribe is the only California tribe that is opposed to legislation on the floor now that will allow and regulate online poker in the state. Both of the two bills out there include bad actor clauses and would prevent PokerStars from re-entering the US Internet gambling market via California.

Absolute Poker, which is no longer in existence, has also settled US civil charges related to the UIGEA and Black Friday.


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