Travell Thomas, a former World Series of Poker Circuit ring who is facing criminal charges of fraud, claims his prosecution is “racially motivated”.
“I am innocent of all charges as my attorney said before. Any monies paid to our company was owed. Only two [similar] cases have been prosecuted, out of 42. Look it up, solve the case, you will be famous”, said Travis in an interview last week.
Late last year, Thomas was arrested for allegedly participating in a debt collection scheme. Preet Bharara, the man responsible for poker’s Black Friday, said it was “the largest fraudulent debt collection scheme ever to be prosecuted.”
Thomas and his legal team are fighting back, they argue that the case should not be criminally prosecuted, but handled by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Thomas is CEO and co-owner of a debt collection company, and allegedly him and other fifteen defendants tricked victims in a coercive debt collection scheme of $31 million from 2010 to 2015. He prosecution believes the defendants told the victims they were affiliated with local law enforcement agencies and government.
In court paper, Thomas’s attorney Scott F. Riordan said:
“Violating the FDCPA [Fair Debt Collection Practices Act] is not a crime, but a civil violation, that the FTC is the federally designated agency to prosecute any alleged violations of the FDCPA. For these reasons, the indictment must be dismissed for failing to allege a crime and for lack of jurisdiction.”
Thoma’s attorney has also filled a couple of motions, given that the chances of a dismissal are small.
“Rather than requiring the accused to guess about other types of documentary information or evidence which has been collected in connection with the case or which might be material to the preparation of the defense or may be used by the government at trial or which might be favorable to the accused, the government should be required to specify any additional documents or tapes or photographs in its possession or under its control which relate in any way to the present case so that the discoverability of that information might be evaluated at the present time.”
On December 5, Thomas will be back in court.