Full Tilt Poker Fugitive Nelson Burtnick US Bound
Nelson Burtnick has finally folded.
Poker news sites and forums are reporting that the former Full Tilt Poker payment processor is returning to the US to face criminal charges in connection with the Black Friday case. He’s facing eight charges money laundering and bank fraud connection with the mishandling FTP player funds.
Burtnick, who had been living in Dublin, is just the latest FTP figure to come to justice in recent days.
Plenty of Company in Jail
Yesterday a Federal judge sentenced former FTP payment processor Ira Rubin to three years in prison for his part in the scandal. Rubin was also forced to forfeit $5 million he took from the FTP till. Rubin had been hiding out Costa Rica before surrendering to authories and, eventually, cutting a deal.
Earlier this month, former FTP CEO Ray Bitar, who had also been hiding in Ireland, also surrendered to American authorities. He’s currently free on bail and it’s wouldn’t be surprising if he cut some sort of deal, too.
Looking for more background on FTP cases? Check out What Ray Bitar’s Surrender Means for Online Poker.
Why Surrender Now?
Though both Burtnick and Bitar returned to the United States of their own accord, it’s believed that the long arm of the law would have reached them eventually. Surrendering voluntarily is crucial for receiving both reasonable bail conditions and plea bargain terms.
It’s also likely that Bitar and Burtnick’s fugitive status was holding up FTP’s long awaited sale to PokerStars.
Coincidentally, the Department of Justice signed off on that deal today, too. Under the terms of the deal, PokerStars will reimburse almost $200 million in FTP player funds within the next 90 days.
PokerStars is eager to re-enter the US online poker market and had plenty of incentive to encourage Burtnick and Bitar to face the music by returning to the US.
There’s no word yet on when, or if, Burtnick will have a bail hearing. Bitar spent a few nights in lockup before being released on a $2.5 million bond.
What do you think about the latest developments in the Black Friday cases? Share your thoughts on our Online Gambling Laws & Regulations Forum.
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