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FTP’s Bitar to Plead Guilty, Miss Jail Time Due to Heart Transplant
Former Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar has reached a deal to plead guilty to criminal charges as he awaits a heart transplant at his home in California.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the agreement would see Bitar concede most of his personal assets but potentially avoid jail time because of his medical condition.
Bitar’s lawyers revealed their client’s condition during the hearing, which took place earlier today. The heart condition is believed to be very serious and Bitar’s doctors reportedly estimate he has a 50% chance of dying within the next 6 to 12 months if he doesn't receive a transplant.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska has total discretion as far as sentencing and could agree to the request by the defense or she could sentence Bitar up to 35 years in federal prison.
Preska has set April 19 as a potential date for the plea to take place.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed criminal cases against Bitar, PokerStars chairman Isai Scheinberg, former PokerStars director of payment Paul Tate and UB co-founder Scott Tom on April 15, 2011, a date now known in the poker community as Black Friday.
Scheinberg and Tate are never expected to return to the U.S. and face charges while Tom’s whereabouts is unknown.