PokerStars founder Scheinberg pleads guilty

25 March 2020

Isai Scheinberg, founder of PokerStars, has pled guilty in a New York court to running a multi-million dollar unlawful internet gambling business.

Scheinberg pled guilty to one count of operating an illegal gambling business, for which he faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison. Judge Lewis Kaplan will be responsible for determining the punishment, with the date for sentencing yet to be set.

All other charges were dropped.

Geoffrey Berman, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, revealed that Scheinberg, 73, had been arrested in Switzerland on 7 June 2019, as a result of the US charges. The Swiss Federal Office of Justice then ordered his extradition to the US in October that year, a decision that he appealed.

However, Scheinberg then withdrew his appeal and surrendered to federal agents on 17 January, and was arraigned before Judge Katharine Parker that day.

“Ten years ago, this office charged 11 defendants who operated, or provided fraudulent payment processing services to, three of the largest online poker companies then operating in the United States – PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker – with operating illegal gambling businesses and other crimes,” Berman said.

“As Isai Scheinberg’s guilty plea today shows, the passage of time will not undermine this office’s commitment to holding accountable individuals who violate US law.”

A spokesperson for Scheinberg told iGB: “Mr Scheinberg is pleased to put this matter behind him and that all charges other than violating the 1971 Gambling Act have been dropped.

“Notably, all PokerStars players were paid back immediately and Mr Scheinberg played an important role in ensuring that all of the players from other sites were repaid as well.”

Read the full story on iGB North America.