Thomas has fired back at U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, claiming that the case is racially motivated. Thomas even goes as far as to ask Judge Katherine Polk Failla to let him depose Bharara.
Bharara’s prosecutors have already argued against Thomas’ request, calling it “rank speculation.”
According to the New York Post, Thomas’ court papers claim that Bharara’s office has only criminally prosecuted debt collection businesses owned by black men. In contrast, non-black debt collection agencies have had their cases solved through civil courts.
“Whereas most cases are traditionally handled civilly, 100 percent of the debt collection cases that are being prosecuted against owners of debt collection companies by Mr. Bharara‘s office are being brought against black male business owners,” Thomas’ papers read.
Bharara’s office fires back that the non-black-owned businesses didn’t engage in any activities that could be criminally prosecuted.
“Thomas wholly fails to explain what those FTC enforcement actions involved and whether the conduct of the companies in those actions rose to the level of criminal conduct,” wrote Bharara’s prosecutors.
The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office has also questioned Thomas’ claims that only black-owned businesses have been criminally prosecuted, citing that his defense lawyers don’t fully know the racial makeup of the ownership.
Thomas’ debt collection business is accused of collecting over $31 million through threatening and intrusive means. Going further, the Buffalo, NY company would claim that it was associated with law enforcement agencies, and threatened criminal charges to anybody who didn’t pay up.
Thomas and his co-partner, Maurice Sessum, face a maximum of 40 years in prison for their alleged crimes.
As for Thomas’ poker career, he has $510,885 in poker tournament winnings and a WSOP Circuit ring.