Elie, Campos Plead Guilty to Black Friday Charge

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Chad Elie, one of 11 defendants in the poker site indictments handed out on April 15th of last year, pleaded guilty to one conspiracy charge yesterday in Federal court.

Elie, 32, agreed with US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, upon prompting, that his actions in processing payments for the poker sites was “wrong” and that he was pleading guilty for that reason.

Elie was also facing charges for money laundering but only pleaded guilty to the one charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

That charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, but Judge Kaplan said Elie has agreed to forfeit $500,000 of the profits made in processing the payments in exchange for a sentence of no longer than six to 12 months.

Sentencing was set for Oct. 3 while Elie remains free on a $250,000 bond.

John Campos, the Director of SunFirst Bank in Utah up on similar charges to Elie, has also reported now agreed to plead guilty to one charge.

According to a report from Forbes today, Campos has agreed to "plead guilty to a single misdemeanor charge" with a maximum sentence of 0-6 months.

Forbes speculates that by agreeing to let Campos plead to a misdemeanor charge, the DOJ is avoiding a trial that could affect the government’s remaining cases against the founders of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.

Elie and Campos's trial date had been set for April 9.

UPDATE: According to the Washington Post, Judge Kaplan has refused to accept the Campos plea, saying the DOJ appears to be "walking away from the case" by allowing Campos to cop to a misdemeanor rather than a felony.

Kaplan has ordered the prosecution to defend its decision in writing before making a final decision on the plea at a hearing June 27.

Assistant US Attorney Arlo Devlin Brown says the decision to agree to the plea was based on legal opinions that say it may not have been illegal for payment processors to have accepted money.

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