Former Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar Marries
Man Once Facing Decades In Prison Apparently Resumes Normal Life
Ray Bitar, the former Full Tilt Poker CEO who was able to avoid prison time thanks to heart issues, apparently married late last year, according to various media reports. Wedding pictures of Bitar and his wife were circulating the Internet Thursday.
Bitar pleaded guilty in April 2013 to violation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. He had been facing decades in prison.
The Department of Justice once called Full Tilt Poker a “global Ponzi scheme” after it left more than a million poker players without access to their funds. In his sentencing, Bitar admitted that “safe and secure” was a bogus phrase to describe player funds.
The judge in the case spared him prison because he needed a heart transplant, saying that Bitar going behind bars could be a “death sentence.” Bitar forfeited $40 million to the government as part of his plea deal, which did not include admitting to stealing from former customers of the site.
Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson and Rafe Furst, the other men in charge of the company when it defrauded poker players to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, all avoided prison time as well. They didn’t admit to any wrongdoing. Bitar was the only one of them to be criminally charged.
Lederer has been seen in poker tournaments since resolving his case, while Ferguson and Furst have remained away from poker. Ferguson is a former WSOP main event champion.
Another important figure in the Black Friday indictments wasn’t sent to prison and apparently has resumed a luxurious lifestyle. Australian businessman Daniel Tzvetkoff, who helped the feds in the case against Full Tilt and PokerStars, has returned to the business world in his home country.
In the years since the major poker sites left American cyberspace, just three states have gone forward and regulated sites for residents within their respective borders, leaving many poker players still waiting for an online poker comeback in the U.S.
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