Absolute Poker co-founder, Scott Tom has struck a deal with US federal prosecutors for his role in the Black Friday scandal of 2011. It’s a pretty good hand for Tom, who has successfully negotiated felony fraud charges down to a single misdemeanor.
Tom was indicted on a number of felony charges nearly six years ago on charges of illegal gambling and financial fraud. Since then, he’s been living in Antigua, though he is a citizen of Saint Kitts and Nevis. The Black Friday figure gave up life on the lam back in February when he returned to the United States to face the music.
Earlier this week, Tom reached a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to a single charge of count of being an accessory after the fact to the transmission of wagering information. This charge is line with case, which revolved around the online poker industry’s creative use of payment processing to skirt US gambling laws. And, back in 2011, there was an awful lot of money for the industry to process.
During the heyday of the online poker boom, Absolute Poker was based in Costa Rica and was pulling in cash hand over fist. By the time the Black Friday indictments came down, the company was the third largest online poker site in the world and had collected more $500 million from US players. That didn’t sit well the US Department of Justice, especially after investigators found that employees at the big online poker sites were using player deposits as their own personal slush funds.
All told, 12 people were charged with crimes in relation to the Black Friday indictments, including Tom’s stepbrother Brent Beckley who, according to Fortune.com, was sentenced to 12 to 14 months in prison for his role in the scheme. Tom himself will be facing up to two years in federal prison when he’s sentenced in September. Until then, Tom remains a free man on a $500,000 bond.