Posts Tagged ‘Brent Beckley’

Ben Mezrich on Absolute Poker – “They were Days away from being like Mark Zuckerberg”

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Ben Mezrich continues to receive mainstream coverage on his book Straight Flush. The Accidental Billionaires author’s newest work dives into the story of how six University of Montana frat brothers founded Absolute Poker. As many know, Absolute would become one of the world’s largest online poker sites, pulling in $1 million in profit a day at one point.

Mezrich’s depiction of the Absolute Poker story is generating quite a bit of press. He recently appeared on CNBC to discuss Straight Flush (interview in link) and had some very interesting things to say about it.

One of the more intriguing subjects that Mezrich discussed was how Absolute Poker owners were just days away from launching an initial public offering. However, the multi-billion dollar company’s 2006 IPO was derailed when US President George W. Bush signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) into effect in 2006.

“These guys were the first people and these guys are paying the price for being too early,” Mezrich stated. “They were days away from being like Mark Zuckerberg.” But as fate would have it, Absolute’s owners, Scott Tom and Brent Beckley, essentially lost their poker site after Black Friday (April 15th, 2011), when the US Department of Justice busted AP.

During the interview, Mezrich also went into detail on the UIGEA and legalized gambling today. “The (US) government, in my opinion, passed some hypocritical bill that went after online poker for reasons unexplained,” he said. “And now it’s starting to come back – now online poker is starting to be legalized. But these guys (AP founders) were kind of the first people, and now they’re kind of paying the price for being too early.”

Mezrich also mentions how he hopes Straight Flush will eventually become a movie. Kevin Spacey was brought up during the interview since he starred in 21 – the film adaptation of Mezrich’s Bringing Down the House. Assuming Straight Flush does get turned into a movie, watch for Spacey to grace the screen in a prominent role.

Absolute Poker’s Brent Beckley imprisoned with Enron CEO

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Brent Beckley was a major figure in the Black Friday trouble as he headed the now departed Absolute Poker. And as many people know, Absolute Poker was laid to rest alongside millions of dollars worth of player deposits shortly after Black Friday.

The poker community hasn’t been sympathetic to Beckley’s actions, and the US justice system seemingly feels the same because they decided his fate of 14 months in prison. He received the sentence after pleading guilty to bank fraud and money laundering. When October rolls around, Beckley will be seeing a change in living conditions as he enters the Englewood Federal Correctional Institution situated on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado.

Things can’t be all bad for this former reputable man as the Englewood facility is only a minimum security satellite work camp; this is just a fancy term for a prison for wealthy and famous men to do jail time.

He’ll have the company of other high-profile men including Enron CEO Jeffery Skilling and former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. As was reported worldwide in the early 2000’s, Skilling was pulling the strings during the Enron energy company collapse that took over 20,000 jobs and billions of dollars of investors’ money. Following this disaster, he earned himself 24 years in prison with charges of fraud and insider trading.

Blagojevich was governor from 2003-2009, which may have temporarily earned him respect from the people in Illinois; however, crimes belonging to the former Illinois head man earned him 14 years in prison. Blagojevich was caught trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by current US President Barrack Obama, which is just one infraction that landed him behind bars.

Absolute Poker $30m Tax Bill – The Final Scandal

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Absolute Poker has never been the most reputable site since they were entangled in one of the biggest poker scandals in history. An employee by the name of Allan Grimard (a.k.a. AJ Green) played under the superuser account “POTRIPPER,” and could see his opponents’ hole cards. After various complaints were lodged, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission investigated the matter, and discovered that Grimard essentially stole millions of dollars from players through seeing their hole cards.

With this little history lesson out of the way, it’s worth mentioning that Absolute’s mark on the poker world will soon come to a close because they’re reportedly ready to liquidate assets and pay players back. Now players won’t receive full payment back on their deposits since Absolute is apparently only going to deliver between 15 and 20 cents on the dollar; but it’s probably more than most players expected to get.

Speaking of liquidating their assets, it doesn’t look like Absolute will be paying the $30 million tax bill that the Norwegian government has sent their way. After a lengthy investigation done by Norway’s Tax Crimes unit, they concluded that Absolute Poker had been laundering money through the country via a holding company called Madeira Fjord.

Those who followed Absolute after Black Friday may remember Madeira Fjord because they filed bankruptcy when the poker site refused to pay them for services. And now it’s been revealed that these services included laundering money for AP when they were having trouble accepting US customer deposits.

In any case, it looks like Absolute Poker and their checkered past will soon be wiped off the map when everything is sold, and players receive fractions of what they’re owed. Furthermore, co-owner Brent Beckley is headed off to prison for 12-18 months, while colleague Scott Tom should be joining him in the near future.