Chad Elie has pleaded guilty to aiding offshore online poker companies accept and make payments from United States customers. Elie is one of 11 people that were charged last year when the government cracked down on internet poker. Included in the criminal charges was money laundering along with illegal gambling offenses.
Other payment processors were also charged along with Elie, including the founders of three of the biggest online poker sites that operated in the United States at the time – PokerStars, Full tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker. The poker sites no longer offer their services to players in the U.S.
Daniel Tzvetkoff was set to appear as a witness in the trial of John Campos and Chad Elie on April 9th in New York. But Elie struck a plea agreement with prosecutors; admitting to opening bank accounts for poker sites to facilitate payments on Monday at a hearing in Manhattan federal court.
Elie's plea will find him possibly sentenced to between six months and one year in jail and he is agreeing to forfeit his interests in various payment processing accounts that add up to more than $25 million. He is also required to pay an additional $500,000 to the U.S. government.
Elie's trial was expected to have far-reaching consequences and affect the government's case against PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker's indicted founders, to say his trial was highly anticipated would be an understatement. He was represented by former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement.
The former vice-chairman of Utah's SunFirst Bank, John Campos, is still scheduled to fight it out with the government at the April trial but federal prosecutors are in discussions with Campos’ lawyers and whether or not he will go to trial is expected to be known by Wednesday.