black friday's cause........Daniel Tzvetkoff
Daniel Tzvetkoff, the one-time high-flying Queensland internet whiz (http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/ace-in-a-hole-fbis-netbet-supergrass-faces-australian-fraud-probe-20110530-1fbrh.html)
who brought down America's multibillion-dollar online poker industry, will come out of hiding next month.
The 29-year-old faced a sentence of 75 years in a US federal prison but in 2010, while languishing in a New York jail, he struck a secret deal with prosecutors and has become a star informant for the US government in its bid to prosecute the kingpins of three of the world's largest online gambling companies: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.
AAP can reveal that Tzvetkoff, whose Queensland-based company Intabill allegedly processed more than $US1 billion ($957 million) worth of illegal transactions between US gamblers and internet gaming websites based offshore, has handed more than 90,000 documents over to prosecutors.
Campos, a 57-year-old executive at Utah's SunFirst Bank who allegedly agreed to process gambling transactions, is charged with six offences and could be jailed for 35 years.
This week, Elie's lawyers complained to the judge handling the case that, on the eve of the trial, prosecutors dumped a "mountain of documents" on them, including Tzvetkoff's emails.
"For example, although the government had previously produced emails for Daniel Tzvetkoff, one of the government's main witnesses in this case, the material we recently received revealed that Mr Tzvetkoff had deleted his emails from the Intabill server, which had previously been made available to the defence, and that the Tzvetkoff emails that were included in prior productions were therefore ones that Mr Tzvetkoff had cherry-picked for the government," Monday's filing from Elie's lawyers, Barry Berke and Dani James, stated.
The inside information includes confidential emails.
Tzvetkoff's first public test as a prosecution witness will come on April 9 in a New York courtroom when a former Las Vegas-based business partner, Chad Elie, and a Utah banker, John Campos, go on trial.
Elie, 31, is charged with nine offences including conspiring to commit bank fraud and money laundering and faces a maximum jail sentence of 85 years if convicted.
"Only after we pointed this out to the government did we receive a full set of Mr Tzvetkoff's materials, which included more than 90,000 documents and which we were able to access for the first time only yesterday."
Tzvetkoff was once a media darling in Australia
, flaunting his wealth - estimated at $82 million just a few years ago - with a $27 million home on the Gold Coast, a garage filled with Lamborghinis and Ferraris, and as a sponsor of V8 Supercar racing team, Team IntaRacing.
His world came crashing down in 2009 when the internet poker companies, for which he allegedly helped launder $US1 billion, accused him of stealing about $US100 million.
Tzvetkoff was arrested at Las Vegas's upmarket Encore casino in April 2010 and charged with money laundering, bank fraud and other charges.
US federal prosecutors vigorously fought to keep Tzvetkoff in jail after his arrest, including successfully overturning a Las Vegas judge's decision to grant Tzvetkoff bail.
Tzvetkoff was transferred to a New York jail and sat there until June 2010 but, in secret dealings, sealed by judges, Tzvetkoff disappeared.
"He's turned the corner, seen the light and is co-operating," former FBI agent Harold Copus, after reviewing the details of the case, told AAP.
On April 15, 2011, Tzvetkoff's inside knowledge led to what has been dubbed in the US as "Black Friday", the day tens of thousands of US poker players logged on to their computers and discovered three top gambling sites - PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker - had been shut down in the US by authorities.
The FBI and prosecutors also announced that day internet gambling kingpins Isai Scheinberg and Paul Tate of PokerStars, Raymond Bitar and Nelson Burtnick of Full Tilt Poker, and Scott Tom and Brent Beckley of Absolute Poker, were charged with bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling offences.
Elie and Campos were also charged in the sweep.
Prosecutors alleged Elie, as Tzvetkoff's Intabill was crumbling in 2009, fleeced $US4 million from PokerStars.
"Intabill's founder, Daniel Tzvetkoff, who processed over $US1 billion for the poker companies, ended up owing tens of millions to PokerStars," prosecutor Arlo Deviln-Brown wrote in a recent court filing.
"While Tzvetkoff's lifestyle is squarely responsible for much of the missing money ($US25 million on a house, for example), the fact is that 'sub-processors' that Tzvetkoff relied on - including Elie - also failed to remit and indeed simply made off with the money PokerStars was missing."
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