Posts Tagged ‘Ben Mezrich poker book’

UB Founder Scott Tom Pleads Not Guilty to Money Laundering

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

scott-tom-ub-pokerScott Tom, founder of UB and Absolute Poker, has finally agreed to face charges in the US stemming from his black-market poker operation.

Tom pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan federal court to charges of money laundering and violating internet gambling laws.

Frankly, it’s surprising that Tom is confronting these charges, given that he could’ve stayed in Antigua, which doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the US. Tom is currently living in Stain Kitts and Nevis, and voluntarily flew to New York to face his charges.

According to Fortune, Tom was released on a $500,000 bond. His lawyer, James Henderson, said that he expects the case to be resolved with a plea deal.

“There’s going to be a resolution in this case quickly,” said Henderson.

Tom, 37, once ran the UB/Absolute Poker network out of Costa Rica with former college friends, thanks to a loan from his father. Famed writer Ben Mezrich detailed the rise of Tom and his friends through the book Straight Flush.

ub-poker-foldsRunning under the Cereus Network, the company quickly shot to the top, ranking only behind PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker in terms of player traffic.

The good times would come to an end on April 15, 2011, a.k.a. Black Friday, when the US government cracked down on Stars, Full Tilt, and UB/Absolute for violating banking laws. Specifically, all three companies were using illegitimate means to circumvent the UIGEA.

Prosecutors say that the Cereus Network took in around $500 million rake from US residents before shutting down after Black Friday. It’s been estimated that the network shut down with around $20 million in unpaid player deposits.

Tom’s stepbrother, Brent Beckley, who oversaw the payment processing at Cereus, did 14 months in prison after pleading guilty for his role.