| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Oct 13 A former employee of internet
gambling company PokerStars pleaded guilty on Thursday to
operating an illegal gambling business, as part of a
long-running case by U.S. prosecutors against the online poker
Paul Tate, 42, told U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses that
he was guilty of one charge that has a maximum sentence of five
years in prison. A sentencing hearing will be held on Nov. 21.
The case dates to 2011, when the U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara
in Manhattan won the indictment of 11 defendants, including
Tate, who were involved with PokerStars, Absolute Poker and Full
Tilt Poker. The charges against them included bank fraud, money
laundering and other charges.
Wearing a gray suit and glasses in court, Tate, a British
citizen, said he began working for the Isle of Man-based
PokerStars in 2006 doing technical work and interacting with
companies that processed payments.
"My family and I have paid a heavy price for this conduct,"
he told the judge.
Amaya Inc, the Canadian company that owns the
PokerStars and Full Tilt brands, said in an emailed statement
that it was not involved in the case and the outcome would have
"no impact or legal implications on our business or operations."
In 2012, PokerStars paid $731 million to settle civil claims
brought by the U.S. Justice Department. PokerStars also agreed
to purchase Full Tilt Poker as part of the agreement, after the
former rival collapsed following the indictment.
The U.S. government alleged the offshore poker companies
circumvented laws against internet gambling to trick U.S. banks
and credit card issuers into processing billions of dollars of
payments on their behalf.
The case is USA v. Tzvetkoff et al, U.S. District Court for
the Southern District of New York, No. 1:10-cr-00336.
(Editing by Steve Orlofsky)