Full TIlt Poker CEO Bitar Gets Bailed Out
Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar, accused by the US Department of Justice of fraud and money laundering, is now free on bail just a few days after surrendering to US authorities in New York.
Various reports peg the bail amount paid at $2.5 million, leaving Bitar free to return to his California home as he awaits court proceedings due to civil and criminal charges filed against him by the DOJ .
Per the terms of the agreement, Bitar had to come up with $2.5 million in bail - $1 million of which is secured by $280,000 in cash and $715,000 worth of real property, with the remainder allocated to the value of a warehouse Bitar owns in California.
Bitar also disclosed all of his assets and will be subject to electronic monitoring and can only travel to California (where he plans to live) and New York (where he will need to make future court appearances).
Bitar had surrendered to authorities in New York after living in Ireland for well over a year after the US government indicted Full Tilt, PokerStars and other online gambling sites in April 2011 for a wide range of alleged offenses including illegally serving US customers, money laundering and wire fraud.
Civil charges were also later levied against Bitar, Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, and other principal Full Tilt executives and owners, alleging that they knowingly operated the company as a Ponzi scheme and were taking in deposits from players despite the fact that actual cash on hand was far less than the necessary amount to pay out all deposits that had been made.
Bitar's decision to surrender to authorities has been reported to be part of an attempt to sell Full Tilt to rival PokerStars.
While PokerStars was targeted as well in April 2011, the company swiftly repaid all money owed to US players and has remained the world’s largest online poker site by a wide margin.