April 15th Criminal Case Information

August 8, 2011 - 6:43 PM EDT

Last updated October 31, 2011 at 4:19 PM EDT.

On April 15, 2011, the US Attorneys Office in the Southern District of New York unsealed criminal indictments against eleven individuals. The indicted individuals are Isai Scheinberg and Paul Tate of PokerStars, Scott Tom and Brent Beckley of Absolute Poker, Raymond Bitar and Nelson Burtnick of Full Tilt Poker, payment processors Chad Elie, Bradley Franzen, Ira Rubin and Ryan Lang, and John Campos, part owner of SunFirst Bank in Utah.

The Black Friday indictments are actually a continuation of a case already filed exactly one year earlier, US v Daniel Tzvetkoff. Tzvetkoff is the now infamous payment processor who was one of the the first and biggest to fall.


The Black Friday indictment cites nine counts:

  1. Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act Conspiracy
  2. Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act: PokerStars
  3. Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act: Full Tilt Poker
  4. Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act: Absolute Poker
  5. Operation of an Illegal Gambling Business: PokerStars
  6. Operation of an Illegal Gambling Business: Full Tilt Poker
  7. Operation of an Illegal Gambling Business: Absolute Poker
  8. Conspiracy to commit Bank and Wire Fraud
  9. Money Laundering Conspiracy

These were returned by the grand jury on March 10, 2011 and placed under seal in the vault until April 15th.

The Black Friday defendants face the following individual charges:

  • Scheinberg: counts one, two, five, eight, and nine.
  • Bitar: counts one, three, six, eight, and nine.
  • Tom: counts one, four, and nine.
  • Beckley: counts one, four, seven, eight, and nine.
  • Burtnick: counts one, two, three, five, six, eight, and nine.
  • Tate: counts one, two, five, eight, and nine.
  • Franzen: all counts.
  • Rubin: all counts.
  • Elie: all counts.
  • Campos: counts one, two, three, five, six, and nine.

Case Chronology

The following is a list of events, official filings, etc. for the criminal case. We’ve included almost every filing, only leaving out some blatantly irrelevant procedural filings:

  • April 15, 2010 
    Sealed indictment filed against Daniel Tzvetkoff. (Original document.)
  • April 16, 2010 
    Indictment unsealed as to Tzvetkoff.
  • April 16, 2010 
    Daniel Tzvetkoff arrested in Nevada.
  • April 21, 2010 
    Order issued for release of Tzvetkoff on certain conditions.
  • April 22, 2010 
    Order issued to stay the previous order of release pending a hearing on April 28. (Original document.)
  • April 28, 2010 
    Order of detention pending trial for Tzvetkoff. Following a detention hearing, judge finds serious risk that defendant will not appear. (Original document.)
  • April 28, 2010 
    Warrant of removal for District of Nevada to transfer Tzvetkoff to Southern District of New York via US Marshall Service.
  • May 6, 2010
    Transcript of proceedings regarding Tzvetkoff by New York Judge. (This was not made public.)
  • May 14, 2010
    Minutes of proceedings and initial appearance info as to Tzvetkoff. (This was not made public.)
  • May 14, 2010
    Pretrial conference as to Tzvetkoff. Discovery due by June 14th. Defendant’s motions due by August 13th. Government’s opposition due by September 13. Defendant’s reply due by September 20. Oral argument or conference to be held on September. Trial scheduled to begin June 6, 2011.
  • November 16, 2010
    Sealed document placed in vault
  • March 11, 2011
    Two sealed documents placed in vault
  • March 22, 2011
    Two sealed documents placed in vault.
  • April 1, 2011
    Sealed document placed in vault.
  • April 14, 2011
    Order to allow for some sealed documents to be unsealed once an arrest has been made without further permission of the court.
  • April 14, 2011
    Superseding indictment filed as to Black Friday defendants. (Originally filed on March 10th and placed under seal.)
  • April 15, 2011
    Chad Elie was arrested in Las Vegas.
  • April 15, 2011
    Arrest warrant returned executed for Chad Elie.
  • April 15, 2011
    John Campos arrested.
  • April 18, 2011
    Bradley Franzen surrenders voluntarily in New York.
  • April 18, 2011
    Franzen arraigned and pleads not guilty to all counts. Next conference set for May 11, 2011.
  • April 18, 2011
    Franzen released and agreed to post $200,000 bond by May 2, with his parents co-signing. The bond is secured by equity in his parents’ home. He surrendered his passport, and his travel was limited to the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, New Jersey, and Central and Northern District of Illinois. He was given regular pretrial supervision.
  • April 18, 2011
    Advice of penalties and sanctions as to Franzen. (These minutes were not made public.)
  • April 18, 2011
    Post-indictment restraining order entered prohibiting anyone from touching the accounts listed in Schedule A. (Original document.) (This was previously under seal.)
  • April 19, 2011
    Initial appearance of Chad Elie. Elie and his wife agreed to bond of $250,000 by April 26, 2011 with three financially responsible persons co-signing and $50,000 cash upfront. He surrendered his passport and his travel was restricted to the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Eastern District of Virginia, and Nevada. He was given strict pretrial supervision and drug testing and/or treatment.
  • April 19, 2011
    Elie arraigned and pleaded not guilty to all charges. Next conference set for May 11, 2011.
  • April 25, 2011
    Ira Rubin arrested in Guatemala on his way from Costa Rica to Thailand.
  • April 26, 2011
    Sealed document placed in the vault.
  • April 27, 2011
    Rubin appeared before a US Magistrate Judge in Florida. He told the judge that he had hired a lawyer the previous Friday in New York but wasn’t sure he had been paid yet, and he had been restricted from making phone calls. The attorney in question had not been paid, so a new date had been set for two days later to determine whether Rubin could get a new attorney.
  • April 29, 2011
    Rubin is transferred to the custody US Marshal to be moved to the Southern District of New York.
  • May 4, 2011
    Bail order set for John Campos. $250,000, must be cash and co-signed by three financially responsible persons. Must surrender passport and all firearms and not possess any firearms. Travel restricted Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, Utah, and Nevada. Given standard pretrial supervision. Ordered to appear on or before May 11, 2011 for initial appearance.
  • May 5, 2011
    Government’s supplemental forfeiture bill of particulars filed. (Original document.)
  • May 10, 2011
    Documents received as to Rubin from the Southern District of Florida.
  • May 10, 2011
    Rubin’s Florida arrest on April 26th entered.
  • May 11, 2011
    Campos files financial affidavits in request for a court appointed attorney. So ordered for purposes of that day only. Campos will try to retain counsel thereafter.
  • May 11, 2011
    Minute entries for Campos’s initial appearance. Campos was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to all charges.
  • May 11, 2011
    Minute entries for Rubin. (Rubin is not present in New York, but his attorney is.)
  • May 11, 2011
    Minutes for status conference as to Rubin, Elie, Campos and Franzen. Discovery due by August 15th. Defendants’ motions due by September 30th. Government responses due by October 21th. Defendants’ replies due by October 28th. Status Conference or oral argument set for November 10th.
    Campos bail modified to require that he surrender any firearms or archery weapons to Utah law enforcement for retention until the conclusion of proceedings in this case. Campos court appointed attorney to continue as counsel. Campos financial affidavit due by May 23rd and hearing set for May 25rd to determine if court appointed attorney will continue. Elie’s travel permission now extended to include the Central District of California and the Middle District of Florida.
  • May 11, 2011
    Trial date is set to commence on March 12, 2012.
  • May 23, 2011
    Waiver of indictment for Franzen. (Original document.)
  • May 23, 2011
    Superseding information filed for Franzen. New counts 1s, 2s, and 3s replace counts one through nine. Defendant appeared before magistrate and was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to new counts. (Original document.)
  • May 23, 2011
    Consent to proceed before a magistrate judge by Franzen. (Original document.)
  • May 23, 2011
    Minutes of hearing: Franzen present before magistrate and changes plea from not guilty to guilty on the charges 1s, 2s, and 3s. Magistrate judge recommends to case judge to accept guilty plea. Electronic presentence investigation not ordered. Control sentencing date is August 26. Bail is continued.
  • May 25, 2011
    Campos appoints a new attorney.
  • May 25, 2011
    Campos and Rubin arraigned and plead not guilty.
  • May 27, 2011
    Transcript of guilty plea of Franzen before magistrate entered into the record.
  • May 31, 2011
    Sealed document placed into the vault.
  • June 8, 2011
    Order of detention pending trial issued for Ira Rubin. He was found to be a serious flight risk. (Original document.)
  • June 8, 2011
    Medical attention form filed with the Metropolitan Detention Center for Ira Rubin. Once he was denied bail, Rubin disclosed a medical condition that requires attention while in custody. (Condition not publicly disclosed.)
  • June 13, 2011
    Stipulation and order modifying the previous restraining order. The accounts named in the forfeiture pages in the name of Hotwire Financial Ltd are released from the case. There allegedly were at least nine wires totaling at least $3.6 million for accounts of Chad Elie. Hotwire provided evidence that those funds had already been transferred out to other accounts and that Hotwire had no knowledge at the time of any conduct causing the forfeiture of the funds. The US has agreed to not pursue further action on this account. (Original document.)
  • June 16, 2011
    Judge grants request of Franzen to modify bail travel to include other geographical regions needed for work purposes, as long as the pretrial group is notified and the US Attorney’s Office for SDNY does not object. Also includes permission to travel to Wisconsin for a family vacation in July.
  • June 16, 2011
    Additional attorney added for Campos.
  • June 17, 2011
    Judge grants consent for Campos to travel to California in June for vacation with his children.
  • June 22, 2011
    Additional attorney added for Campos.
  • July 26, 2011
    Stipulated protective order for Elie, Rubin, and Campos regarding procedures for handling of confidential information. (Original document.)
  • July 27, 2011
    Sealed Document placed in vault.
  • August 3, 2011
    Arrest warrant for Ira rubin. (Already in custody from 4/26/11.)
  • September 30, 2011
    Campos motion to dismiss.
  • October 3, 2011
    Motion to dismiss count eight by Elie.
  • October 3, 2011
    Motion to dismiss counts five, six, seven, and nine by Elie.
  • October 3, 2011
    Motion to dismiss counts one through four by Elie.
  • October 19, 2011
    Request approved that USAO delay (one week) until November 4 responses to motions to dismiss Re: Elie and Campos. Replies from defendants now due on November 18.

The author and Subject: Poker recognize that all accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The author is not an attorney and no information contained herein should be construed to be legal advice.