Black Friday revisited: PokerStars’ Isai Scheinberg surrenders


PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg flew to New York late last week to attend to some unfinished business he’d been neglecting for the past decade or so. Scheinberg was the last remaining fugitive from the Black Friday scandal that turned the online poker industry on its ear, upending the lives of players, and employees, in the then-thriving online poker world.

The fugitive billionaire touched down in New York and was met by Department of Justice employees who immediately took him into custody. After pleading not guilty to all charges, Scheinberg surrendered his passport to the authorities and was almost immediately released on a $1 million bail. It’s expected that the fugitive billionaire will likely enter some sort of plea deal with the DOJ that’ already been negotiated.

Scheinberg’s arrest may mark the end of the Black Friday battle but it’s been a long time coming. Since that day, Scheinberg’s been under indictment, but he hasn’t exactly been hiding. During much of his time on the run he was holed up in Canada and the Isle of Man (Scheinberg holds a dual Israeli/Canadian citizenship.) He slipped up by visiting Switzerland a few back. During that visit, DOJ authorities launched extradition proceedings against him and in doing so triggered his surrender.

At the time of his indictment, then-DOJ prosecutor Preet Baharara scolded the PokerStars’ magnate saying, ““Foreign firms that choose to operate in the United States are not free to flout the laws they don’t like.”

It should be noted that Scheinberg worked very hard to ensure that PokerStars’ players had at least some chance of getting their money back after the company was shut down by the Feds.