Ray Bitar to Plead Guilty, Recieve Heart Transplant
Former Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar will be pleading guiltyto charges relating to his role in the fraud case that brought down the American online poker industry.
Bitar is in poor health and in need of a heart transplant and that’s what motivated the plea deal.
Details on exactly what type of deal Bitar struck with prosecutors are still murky and unconfirmed, but in an interview with the Wall Street Journal his attorney John F. Baughman said:
It’s a very unusual situation. We’ve been able to work out something with the government that takes into account the unique circumstances. We appreciate the government’s courtesy in this regard.
The disgraced poker mogul is expected to enter his guilty plea at a hearing on April 19, which could be conducted via video due to poor health.
PocketFives.com is reporting that Bitar will plead guilty to at least two felony counts and forfeit nearly all of his personal assets at that hearing as part of the plea deal. (Though this has not been confirmed by Bitar’s attorneys.)
Bitar is facing as much as much as 145 years in prison and spent several years living as a fugitive in Ireland thanks to his role in the Full Tilt Poker collapse. Since surrendering to American authorities last summer, Bitar been awaiting trial in California on a $2.5 million bond .
Given these circumstances, a plea deal that didn’t include some sort of prison time would, indeed, be very courteous.
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