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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Lawsuit filed by convicted payment processor Chad Elie dismissed

Chad Elie courtesy of
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A United States District court judge dismissed a lawsuit against Chad Elie's attorney, Jeff Ifrah, this week. Elie was convicted and served five months in a California prison for online poker payment processing in the 'catch-and-convict' net thrown out by the U.S. government during the Black Friday horror show. Elie pled guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud and operating an illegal gambling business and, in turn, filed malpractice charges against Ifrah, claiming that the gaming attorney withheld a legal opinion which stated third-party online poker processing was not legal in the United States.

PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker utilized Elie's payment processing business in the U.S. Elie filed the lawsuit against Ifrah while he was in jail — his claim is that Ifrah hid critical documentation and was involved with the government in the investigation against illegal online poker sites. Elie's statement was that if he had knowledge of the hidden documentation, he would've stopped processing poker payments.

"We can’t speculate why Chad Elie chose to strike out and blame us for his own actions," Ifrah in a press release this week. "We can only speak to the facts. And those facts are clear, unambiguous, and directly contradict Elie’s claims against us."

Ifrah went on to say, "While we wish to put this case behind us, we now have our reputations — which we’ve worked extremely hard to build — to repair. We are pursuing legal fees and will consider a defamation claim."

Elie's trial was set for April 9th, 2012, where he faced nine charges but once he was aware of reports that his former business partner and fellow payment processor Daniel Tzvetkoff was a key witness in the case against him, and would be testifying, he pled guilty.

Before pleading guilty Elie stood by his original claim that he was innocent, more than once, in front of U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan. Although Elie claimed the law making it illegal for businesses to transact with unlawful online gambling companies did not apply to poker because it is a game of skill, his motion was denied.

Ifrah paints a different picture than Elie: "Even more damning is the fact that Elie knowingly and illegally processed payments for nearly two years before his first-ever contact with our firm and myself.”

Last June Elie was released from prison and arrived at the Rio to play the Main Event of the World Series of Poker. During that time, he also talked with on his business relationships with key players in the online poker industry, his time in prison, and more.

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