Founder of Full Tilt Poker Arrested At JFK Airport & Faces 145 Years In Prision

According to, Raymond Bitar, founder and CEO of Full Tilt Poker, was arrested yesterday as he arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York  and charged with running a Ponzi scheme, gambling, bank fraud, and money laundering offenses, faces up to 145 years in prison, if convicted of all the charges.

“Full Tilt owed $350 million to players around the world while holding only $60 million to $70 million to cover payments, authorities allege. More than $430 million in gamblers’ winnings were allegedly siphoned to Bitar and other owners of the online poker site.”

“Bitar and Full Tilt Poker persisted in soliciting U.S. gamblers long after such conduct was outlawed,” Janice K. Fedarcyk, assistant director-in-charge at the FBI, said in a statement. “Now he stands accused of defrauding Full Tilt’s customers by concealing its cash-poor condition and paying off early creditors with deposits from later customers.”

In April of 2011

Full Tilt had its gambling license revoked worldwide in June of  last year.

The US government added the charges of running a Ponzi scheme against the company and directors last September.

It was back in April of last year that the US charged PokerStars, FullTiltPoker, AbsolutePoker (using on charges of, violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, operation of illegal gambling business, conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy.




  1. says

    Just goes to show, however long they continued to accept US players after UIGEA hit, it wasn’t worth it. It may have temporarily vaulted them up and gotten them more money, but now look at them. Amazing hubris it took to ignore a law right after it was controversially passed and made into law.

  2. V says

    @ Steve

    Even more amazing were the delusions held by the poker community for years and years… First, about the integrity of online poker. Find posts on 2+2 from the barn-burner years of online poker, with all sorts of laughable ‘reasons’ created by the stupid children as to why there were really angels and shining white knights at the other end of their deposit.

    As if it couldn’t get any worse, UIGEA came down, yet they STILL kept on with the fantasies about all being well when illegality was plain as day… They were warned- the feds move slow. They don’t arrest on suspicion like local cops. They build airtight cases over time.

    For a group as supposedly sharp and savvy a poker players like to believe themselves to be, they acted INCREDIBLY naive. Thing is, several people howled about all this, really raised the siren but were shouted down by those stupid motherfuckers who desperately wanted to keep believing in their ‘god’.

    One thing worth noting here is how they lured Bitar back to the US. They first charged him with little stuff amounting to no more than a year then as soon as the plane landed, handed him with his “superseding indictment” that threatened over a century in prison.

    That’s what you get when you trust that government agents who are paid to put you in prison have any integrity.

  3. says

    Thank You, Bill Frist and the rest of the Religious Right (Party of Freedom) for proposing and passing laws purported to protect families and youth.

    Protect Americans, Save Money, Save Lives

    Legalize and Regulate:

    Online Poker

  4. John Berryhill says

    From the story…

    “he voluntarily returned from Ireland to face charges”

    Good on him. Dispatching a predator drone to Ireland would have been more expensive.

Comment Policy: welcomes reader comments. Please follow these simple rules:

  • Stay on topic
  • Refrain from personal attacks
  • Avoid profanity
  • Links should be related to the topic of the post
  • No spamming. Listing domains, products, or services will get the comment deleted

We reserve the right to remove comments if we deem it necessary.

Join the Discussion