Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar has been arrested in the U.S. after surrendering to U.S. authorities on Monday. Bitar will now face trial in New York for his role as a key responsible for the demise of Full Tilt Poker.
Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar has been surrendered to U.S. authorities after arriving to New York on Monday afternoon, according to several reports.
Bitar landed in Kennedy Airport and was immediately taken into custody by U.S. authorities. He will now face trial for his alleged role as a mastermind of what prosecutors call a "global Ponzi scheme."
"I know that a lot of people are very angry at me," Bitar said, according to Businessweek
"I understand why. Full Tilt should never have gotten into a position where it could not repay player funds."
Bitar has spent more than a year in Ireland after he was named in the Black Friday indictments last spring. The original charges against him include conspiracy to violate gambling laws, operation of an illegal gambling business, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy.
Bitar was on Monday met with a new indictment that boosted the charges against him as a being responsible for running Full Tilt Poker as a Ponzi scheme even after Black Friday caused players to make a run for their money.
Bitar claimed to have "worked hard" for the last 15 months to find a solution to get players paid. According to prosecutors, however, this explanation "strained all credibility," and Bitar was slapped with a new set of charges that strengthens the claims against him severely.
According to prosecutors, authorities have determined that more than $430 million had been paid to Bitar and other Full Tilt owners while only $60 million to $70 million remained in player accounts.
Bitar is also accused of having paid himself at least $40 million, most of which remains in accounts abroad.
The U.S. prosecution also revealed to have been working closely with Irish authorities, who had proved to be willing to extradite Bitar had he not voluntarily turned himself in.
Bitar pleaded not guilty to the charges in a New York courtroom, and was ordered to be held until he can meet the conditions of a $2.5 million bond.
If found guilty, Bitar could face a sentence "to be measured in decades", according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Arlo Devlin-Brown.
Poker.org will continue to follow the case as it develops.