INTERNET POKER MOGUL FREE ON $2M PROPERTY BOND
NEW YORK — An Internet poker company founder who surrendered last week to face charges he operated his business like a Ponzi scheme was released on bail Monday. Raymond Bitar was freed on $2.5 million bond after agreeing to post $2 million in property to ensure he returns to U.S. District Court in Manhattan when required.
Bitar flew to New York from Ireland last week to face charges in a prosecution that shut down the U.S. operations of the three largest Internet poker companies. Bitar, 40, is the founder of Full Tilt Poker.
Prosecutors sought to have the Glendora, Calif., resident held without bail, saying that new charges could carry a life sentence and that he falsely told poker players their money would be safe but nearly $300 million owed to players worldwide was missing from the company bank accounts. They said half of that was owed to U.S. players.
Bitar has pleaded not guilty and said in a statement that he had “worked hard” for the last 15 months to help players get repaid. He called returning to face charges “part of that process.”
But after he surrendered, the government revealed a new indictment that boosted the amount of time he could face upon conviction from a few years in prison to life in prison. Prosecutors argued that the increased danger of incarceration made him likely to flee.
Judge Paul Engelmayer granted bail, though, after boosting the amount of cash or property needed to secure bail from $1 million to $2 million. Bitar also must submit to electronic monitoring. The judge said he credited the fact that Bitar, a U.S. citizen, returned to the United States to face charges, though he called the case facing him “very serious.”
In court papers filed last week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Arlo Devlin-Brown said Bitar rejected an attempt by his company’s shareholders, most of them U.S. residents, to replace him and the company’s board last year amid criminal charges. The prosecutor said Bitar insisted that his role at the company was too critical and that he could raise money from new investors.
“This struck several of the shareholders as preposterous — how could a CEO indicted on bank fraud and money laundering charges that he declined to face be the best person to represent the company with new investors? — but Bitar, backed by several allies, held on to control,” he wrote. “In retrospect, the impetus of Bitar’s desire to remain at the helm is clear. As of the date the indictment was unsealed, Full Tilt Poker was little more than a Ponzi scheme, and Bitar wanted to prevent it from unraveling.”
Anthony Chiasson, 38 year-old co-founder of Level Global Investors, recently turned himself in to the FBI. Why? Because they attempted to arrest him at his home after an insider trading investigation revealed he had made huge amounts of money on illegal insider trades. In fact, Chiasson made $53 million in a single trade of Dell stock – which is the largest single trade ever charged in Manhattan. Chiasson wasn’t home when about 6 FBI agents converged on his Upper East Side home, so he turned himself in later.
Investigators allege that a ring of traders at different firms shared information, illegally gaining a total of $61.8 million. In total, the FBI arrested 7 people, including Chiasson. The complaint “describes a circle of friends who essentially formed a criminal club” where “everyone scratched everyone else’s back.” Recall that last year Raj Rajaratnam was sentenced to 11 years in jail for insider trading gains of a similar amount.
Although prosecutors requested bail of $10 million, the judge set bail at $2.5 million. The bond was secured by half of that amount by property Chiasson owns.
You will notice in our video’s that some of them are very calm with no or little confrontation. Which is a far cry from what you see on television. As a bail agent you will have to remember these people you are arresting are your clients. Over the years I have bonded the same people out time and time again. Not to mention their friends and so on. That’s how you make a successful business. I have had people skip bond on me and leave the state and I bonded them back out. Now there are time’s where you have to scream and yell and get rough, you just have to know when. Alot of times I will try to get the co-signer off the bond and still keep the client on bond also. The co-signers will also use your servies again too if treated good.
The majority of bail agent’s salary come from commission made on writing bonds, not on capturing people. I can promise you there are NO FULL time bountyhunters who do nothing at all but hunt people. There simply is no money in that and it takes much too long to try. You will mainly work posting bond’s and collecting commissions and apprehending bond jumper’s as they come along.
Greene County Circuit Court’s presiding judge issued an administrative order Friday clarifying bond requirements to help ensure that jail detainees aren’t released until any and all special conditions of their release are met.
Judge Thomas Mountjoy’s order specifies that bond agents and defendants personally appear before a judge prior to a defendant’s release on bonds greater than $25,000. It also declares that language spelling out special release conditions must appear on any arrest warrant, any docket entry or any bond paperwork submitted for approval by a judge. His order formalizes what has been custom.