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Ray Bitar

Black Friday produced a ton of big-name gambling arrests (spoiler alert: a lot of them are on this list) but no name was as big as Ray Bitar, the former CEO of Full Tilt Poker. Bitar surrendered to US authorities last year after a couple years on the run in Ireland. (Bitar’s offenses weren’t quite serious enough to warrant extradition from the Emerald Isle.)

Though the former high flyer looked anything but worried in his, Cheshire-cat-style mugshot, he was facing around 65 years in a Federal penitentiary. Anonymous benefactors quickly posted a multimillion dollar bond on his behalf and he returned home to California.

As it turned out, incarceration was the least of Bitar’s worries. After striking a deal with Federal prosecutors, Bitar forfeited almost all of his personal assets (worth around $40 million) and avoided a sentence of any kind. His willingness to part with everything material was due to his pressing need for a heart transplant; something he wasn’t likely to get at Leavenworth.

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