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Absolute Poker’s Scott Tom Pleads Not Guilty in US CourtFebruary 26th, 2017
Scott Tom, one of the former owners of Absolute Poker, was in Manhattan federal court last week to deal with charges that he violated US banking laws. Tom pleaded not guilty to money laundering and other banking related charges.
According to his lawyer James Henderson, the not-guilty plea precedes what will likely be a plea deal.
“There’s going to be a resolution in this case quickly,” Henderson told Fortune.
Tom, who’s been released on a $500,000 bond, previously lived in Antigua, before moving to Saint Kitts and Nevis recently. No explanation has been given on why he chose to return to the US at this point.
The 37-year-old was one of 11 people indicted on April 15, 2011, otherwise known as Black Friday. Absolute Poker, which ran on the Cereus Network with UB Poker, was once the world’s third-largest poker site behind Full Tilt and PokerStars. But all three violated US payment processing laws, leading to the Black Friday indictments.
The charges crippled Absolute Poker, and they quickly folded afterward, failing to repay millions of dollars in player deposits. This left Tom’s name tainted in the online poker community.
US authorities based Black Friday on the fact that all three poker operations tricked banks into processing billions of dollars in rake. Specifically, they disguised player deposits as other transactions so that US banks would process the money.
Of the 12 people who were originally indicted during Black Friday – including Tom’s stepbrother, Brent Beckley – Tom is one of the last one to face charges.
There’s no precedent for what to expect in Tom’s case. Full Tilt founders Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Howard Lederer, and Ray Bitar all avoided jail time through plea deals. But Beckley, who ran Absolute’s payment processing division, served 14 months in a federal prison. PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg has yet to deal with charges and isn’t expected to set foot in the US again.