Back in April, the FBI uncovered a huge illegal gambling ring that had Russian mob ties. 34 people were indicted in the scandal, including poker pros Justin “Boosted J” Smith and Edwin Ting. Now, five months after the indictments, both Smith and Ting are expected to enter guilty pleas on September 4th.
According to the New York Daily News, Smith will plead guilty to receiving payment for internet gambling, while Ting will accept charges of running an illegal gambling operation. If the two plead as expected, they would both be facing up to five years in prison.
Smith was one of the biggest names indicted since he’s earned $2,149,387 in live poker tournaments, along with millions more in online tourneys. His biggest cash came in the 2010 WPT Bellagio Cup VI, when he finished second and earned $594,755. Smith also took third in the 2009 Bellagio Cup V and collected $464,870.
Ting makes most of his money playing high stakes cash games. However, he’s also dabbled in the tournament world too, having made $80,565 overall. His biggest cash, $39,570, came when he took 99th in the 2008 WPT No-Limit Hold’em Championship.
Other prominent poker players who are facing charges include Abe Mosseri, Bill Edler, John Hanson, Peter Feldman and Vadim Trincher.
The gambling ring that these grinders are accused of being involved in stretched from New York to Los Angeles, with operations in Philadelphia and Miami too. Russia’s Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, who was indicted for bribing Winter Olympic officials back in 2002, is accused of running this gambling ring. Authorities say that his organization sometime relied on extortion and intimation to make clients pay up. It’s also believed that the gambling operation brought in over $100 million before being broken up by the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime Squad.