Yesterday, Paul Tate, a former employee of PokerStars, plead guilty to operating an illegal gambling business. Tate is an individual involved in an extensive case in the United States against the iPoker industry. The former payment processing specialist stood in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses and plead guilty to one charge where he could face as much as five years in prison after a hearing for sentencing takes place in November.
The charges date back to 2011 when the case began. United States Attorney Preet Bharara of Manhattan was able to win an indictment at this time of eleven defendants, which included Tate in the mix. Each of the individuals named were involved with online poker companies operating in the US, including PokerStars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker. Charges against those indicted included money laundering, bank fraud and more.
Tate spoke in court this week, stating he began working for PokerStars back in 2006 in a technical field and would interact with the companies that processed payments. Tate was the payments director of the company and had been considered ‘at large’ since the Black Friday indictments took place. Tate told Judge Moses that his illegal conduct had resulted in a heavy price being paid by himself and his family.
After Tate plead guilty to charges, it now leaves just two individuals who had been named in the Black Friday indictments, Isai Scheinberg, the former owner of PokerStars, and Scott Tom, the co-founder of Absolute Poker. These two individuals are the only ones out of the eleven who have yet to reach a deal with the United States Department of justice.
The new owner of PokerStars and Full Tilt, Amaya Gaming, sent out an emailed statement on the case, stating that they are not involved and the outcome has no impact or legal implications on their business or operations. Four years ago, in 2012, PokerStars paid $731 million to settle civil claims within the United States Justice Department. As part of the agreement, PokerStars would purchase Full Tilt, as the rival online poker brand had collapsed after the indictment took place.