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Full Tilt’s Ray Bitar Pleads Not Guilty, Bail at $2.4 Million
After surrendering to U.S. authorities, Ray Bitar pleaded not guilty to all charges laid against him in a Manhattan Court yesterday.
According to a story with Bloomberg, Bitar remains in prison although his bail is set at $2.4 million, including $1 million in secured cash.
The Full Tilt Poker founder is facing charges of money laundering, wire fraud and operating an illegal gambling business.
If found guilty of all charges Bitar is looking at a maximum sentence of 145 years in prison.
Upon surrendering to the U.S. government, Bitar was hit with a revised indictment with new charges.
The new indictment pertains specifically to the post-Black Friday actions of Full Tilt and alleges the company continued to encourage players outside the U.S. to make deposits despite not being able not even having the U.S. player funds.
"I know that a lot of people are very angry at me," said Bitar in a statement released by his lawyers. "I understand why. Full Tilt should never have gotten into a position where it could not repay player funds."
In a letter released yesterday, Bitar told Full Tilt Poker employees that he was voluntarily returning to the U.S. to deal with the civil and criminal charges laid against him.
According to prosecutors, Bitar may have been forced back to the U.S. regardless. They had been working with the Irish authorities and were prepared to extradite Bitar if he did not return voluntarily.
The U.S. Department of Justice alleges that more than $430 million had been paid to Bitar and other owners while only $60-$70 million remained in company accounts to pay back players.
More than one year after Black Friday, Full Tilt players are still out about $350 million.