Isai Scheinberg, who founded PokerStars in the early 2000s, has pleaded guilty to operating an unlawful online gambling business. He entered his plea with the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York (SDNY).
Scheinberg was part of the 2011 Black Friday indictments issued by SDNY against online poker figureheads. He now becomes the last of the 11 indicted individuals to settle his case.
SDNY Pleased with the Guilty Plea
US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman is pleased to wrap up this final Black Friday case. He issued the following statement:
“Ten years ago, this Office charged 11 defendants who operated, or provided fraudulent payment processing services to, three of the largest online poker companies then operating in the United States … with operating illegal gambling businesses and other crimes.
“As Isai Scheinberg’s guilty plea today shows, the passage of time will not undermine this Office’s commitment to holding accountable individuals who violate US law.”
Scheinberg Was Arrested in Switzerland
Scheinberg had been evading the charges against him for almost a decade. But last year, Switzerland authorities arrested him and extradited Scheinberg to the United States.
The 73-year-old initially planned to appeal the extradition. However, he gave up this plan and agreed to fly from Switzerland to New York. After landing, he surrendered to US law enforcement and was released on a $1 million bond.
At first, Scheinberg pleaded not guilty to any charges. He changed his mind, though, and accepted a deal where he’ll plead guilty to one charge of running an illegal internet gambling business.
This charge carries a maximum of five years in prison. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan will sentence the former PokerStars head man at a TBA date.
“In pleading guilty today, Scheinberg admitted that he knew operating a business that offered internet poker to New Yorkers violated state law, and that it was the clear position of the US government that offering online poker in the United States violated federal law,” read an SDNY press release.