Last week, PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg surrendered himself to federal authorities nearly nine years after being charged with a number of gambling and financial crimes. Now, he has been released on $1 million bail as his legal team negotiates a deal with prosecutors.
The History of PokerStars and Black Friday
It was back in 2001 that Isai Scheinberg and his son Mark founded PokerStars. The site experienced tremendous success in the country, but federal authorities passed a law called the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act in 2006. This forced Isai to operate his online poker company from outside of the United States, but PokerStars still offered its services to local customers – at least, until Black Friday.
This was the day in online poker history when the United States government seized the domains of the top poker sites, including PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. Many executives of the site were charged with crimes like money laundering, wire fraud and illegal gambling, but Scheinberg managed to evade the authorities by staying out of the country.
Scheinberg travelled to Switzerland several months back, while US officials were working on extraditing him. At first, he tried to fight the extradition but eventually decided to turn himself in by heading back to New York. Since then, he has been released on $1 million bail while he awaits a decision on what his punishment will be from federal authorities.
What’s Next For Scheinberg
Currently, Scheinberg cannot travel outside of the United States, as he was required to surrender his passport. He is limited to staying within New York and Washington, DC.
It has been stated that the former PokerStars executive is negotiating with American authorities. The potential time in prison for his crimes ranges from five years for violating the UIGEA to 20 years for money laundering. Fines range from $250,000 up to $1 million. There’s no telling what his punishment will be for his crimes, but there are some rumours that he may end up avoiding prison time as a result of his negotiations.
While Scheinberg’s situation is a big deal in the online poker world, it will have no bearing on the current operation of PokerStars. Scheinberg sold his shares to Amaya in 2013, and PokerStars is now under new ownership. So, there’s no need to worry about the court case impacting the site at all.