Bloomberg News reported earlier today that payment-processing middleman Chad Elie, another of the 11 defendants indicted on the US federal government’s “Black Friday” strike against online poker, has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. Elie will plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy and is expected to receive a six- to 12-month prison sentence, in addition to a $500,000 fine. In addtion, Elie forfeited his interest in roughly $25 million in bank accounts already believed to have been seized as part of the original Black Friday indictments.
The plea makes Elie the fifth of the 11 defendants to plead out in exchange for fines and relatively short prison terms, following similar deals for Ryan Lang, Ira Rubin, Bradley Franzen and Brent Beckley. Lang, Rubin and Franzen, like Elie, are best described as payment-processing middlemen who facilitated the opening of accounts to assist with moving money to and from US players. In more poker news about Absolute Poker’s Beckley, by contrast, is the only poker-site official to have made a deal with US authorities among the six such indicted on Black Friday.
Up for debate is whether Elie’s plea deal influences Utah banker John Campos to strike a similar arrangement. Campos, who like Elie had been fighting the charges, sits in a rather unique position regarding the charges, as the only banker involved in these proceedings. It’s not at all clear that the bank fraud charges even apply in regards to Campos, since “bank fraud” generally means the bank is the victim, but in this case Campos’s bank was a willing partner in the transactions.
Elie, who remains free on a $250,000 bond, he’ll be sentenced this October. In the meantime, he’s expected to turn states’ evidence as the cases against Campos and the others continue. It’s likely that new developments will pop out in connection with several different Full Tilt storylines this week.