No Prison Time for Ex-PokerStars Employ who ‘Faced the Music’

PokerStars Paul Tate US Online Poker TrialFive long years ago, PokerStars and two other major US online poker sites were brought down by the Department of Justice on April 15, 2011; now known as as Black Friday. Despite the antiquated nature of the incident, court trials are still pending against some of those named in the indictment. Paul Tate‘s case has finally been closed, and by ‘facing the music‘, he actually impressed the judge enough to avoid jail time.

Paul Tate was the man responsible for the oversight of all payment processing at PokerStars, prior to its US closure. A citizen of the UK, Tate has been living on the Isle of Man for many years now, where the PokerStars’ operations are headquartered. That fact played a key role in his ability to walk away from the trial without earning bars for walls.

Just Because He Showed Up…

Back in October, Mr. Tate came to the United States to appear in a Manhattan court room, where he pleaded guilty to the charges against him – aiding in the operation of an illegal online gambling business – before US District Judge Lewis Kaplan. His guilty plea carried with it the possibility of up to 5 years in prison.

While Judge Kaplan appreciated the severity of Tate’s crimes, he was more impressed by the defendant’s current actions than he was disenchanted by any former transgressions. You see, residing on the Isle of Man gave Paul an elevated level of protection from US authorities. They would have been unable to force the island’s government to extradite him onto US soil to face trial.

But extradition wasn’t even necessary, had it been an option. Mr. Tate voluntarily turned himself in, choosing to accept his fate, whatever it may be.

Tate Fined for Illegal US Online Poker

And that fate was a good one, compared to the potential penalty he was facing. Judge Kaplan chose to fine the US online poker site’s former head of payments an amount of $119,000. Not even a fine, really, but rather a forfeiture of personal earnings derived from his crimes.

In his final ruling, the US District Judge told Tate: “Given that you couldn’t be extradited for this, you deserve a world of credit for coming to face the music.”

Not only did Tate choose to “face the music”, as Judge Kaplan put it, he never once denied his involvement in the illegal online gambling operation. He admitted his crimes and told the court, “I very much regret the choices I have made.”

The 43 years old payments manager’s words and actions rung with enough sincerity to convince the court he wasn’t a man worthy of spending time behind bars.

10 Down, 1 To Go

Paul Tate was just one of 11 individuals who were named when the DOJ unsealed indictments relating to the illegal operation of 3 US online poker sites, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker. Prosecutors claimed that these operators used shell companies as legitimate fronts to trick American banks into processing billions worth of payments.

Tate joins 9 other indicted individuals who also chose to “face the music”, pleading guilty to aiding in illegal US online poker operations. The 11th, Isai Scheinberg, founder of PokerStars, remains at large.

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