Absolute Poker co-founder Scott Tom pleaded not guilty to charges related to the illegal provision of online poker services to US players after the implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. As Reuters reported, Tom arrived in New York earlier this week to turn in after refusing to face justice for years.
Back in 2011, an investigation of the US Department of Justice resulted in 11 people being indicted for accepting US players on major poker rooms PokerStars, Full Tilt, and Absolute Poker, and conspiring against a federal online poker ban. Their indictment was unsealed on April 15, 2011, a day that the international poker community has been referring to as Black Friday ever since.
Tom was among those 11 individuals, but instead of going before court and taking responsibility for his actions, he fled to Antigua, where he has spent the past six years.
The indicted individuals also faced money laundering charges after it had been found out that millions of dollars in illegal online gambling proceeds had been transferred out of the US through seemingly legitimate shell companies.
Tom’s step-brother and Absolute Poker co-founder Brent Beckley was also among those charged, but he pleaded guilty, unlike his co-conspirator, and served 14 months in prison.
Flying back to the US voluntarily, Tom was released on a half-a-million-dollar bond after pleading not guilty. His attorney, James Henderson, told media that his client’s case is very close to being resolved. And it all shows that he would get a much lighter punishment than the above-mentioned Beckley.
Tom was at the center of notoriety on one more occasion and he managed to escape justice on that one occasion, too. As mentioned above, he was the mastermind behind the Absolute Poker brand. There was a time when the online poker room ranked among the world’s largest.
Absolute Poker was founded in Costa Rica back in 2003. It was shaken by one more scandal besides Black Friday over the eight years of its existence (it suspended operations shortly after news about its founders’ indictment spread). In September 2007, Absolute Poker players voiced their concerns on the Two Plus Two forums over the existence of superuser accounts that were able to see the hole cards of their opponents.
Leaked hand history of someone nicknamed ‘POTRIPPER’ came as solid evidence that such accounts did exist and that said ‘POTRIPPER’ had ripped substantial amounts of money out of other players. Although there was no confirmation of this, word leaked out that the account was linked to Tom and to a friend of his, A.J. Green.