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PokerStars co-founder could face five years in prison

Isai Scheinberg pleads guilty to US charges

It's been reported that a co-founder of PokerStars - Isai Scheinberg - has "pleaded guilty to running a multi-million-dollar unlawful internet gambling business."

There's an article on Gamblingnews.com, relating to the company which still houses lots of its operational headquarters on King Edward Road in Onchan - under the name 'the Stars Group'.

The charges relate to a crackdown against online gambling websites that continued to target US-based clients after changes to the law in America in 2006.

At that point, most operators decided to leave the market, but PokerStars, along with several others, continued to operate.

However, the American Department of Justice took action against them and shut their sites down in April 2011.

Extradition proceedings have been launched against a series of individuals who were indicted at the time - mostly the heads of the offending companies.

There were 11 defendants - two from Full Tilt Poker and two from Absolute Poker, for example, plus two from PokerStars.

Isai Scheinberg was one of those two, along with Payments Director Paul Tate, and Scheinberg is the last individual of the 11 to face the courts.

In January, it was reported he'd been released on bail after steering clear of American soil for two decades, before effectively handing himself in after travelling to the US from Switzerland voluntarily, to face the federal prosecutors' charges.

It's now been reported he's pleaded guilty before US Magistrate Judge Sarah L Cave, and is facing a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison.

All ten of the others have pleaded guilty and been given a range of sentences, from multi-million-pound fines to jail time.

Scheinberg appears to have admitted one count of operating an illegal gambling business, but all other charges have been dropped.

Apparently GamblingNews.com was contacted by a representative on behalf of Mr Scheinberg, who had this to add:

"Mr Scheinberg is pleased to put this matter behind him and that all charges other than violating the 1971 Gambling Act have been dropped.

"Notably, all PokerStars players were paid back immediately, and Mr Scheinberg played an important role in ensuring that all of the players from other sites were repaid as well."

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