Eastern District of New York Department of Justice attorney Preet Bharara announced on Friday that plea deals have been reached with two more defendants in the case of the “Taiwanchik-Trincher” sportsbetting and racketeering ring, which allegedly operated elite high-stakes poker games in New York City and other locations and funneled millions in sports bets through offshore poker sites.
The two defendants whose deals were announced this week, Kirill Rapoport and William Barbalot, were among the organizers of Trincher’s high-stakes poker games. Each still faces a possible maximum five-year prison term when sentenced in December, though the actual sentence length will likely be much shorter. The two were also fined, $250,000 and $150,00 for Rapoport and Barbalot, respectively.
Rapoport and Barbalot are the second and third Taiwanchik-Trincher indictees to plead out in the case, which included charges against 34 separate defendants connected to the sportsbetting, poker, and strong-arming/extortion operations used against a few deep-in-debt players.
The Trincher in the case is Vadim Trincher, who won a 2009 World Poker Tour event for more than $700,000 and was also in the news not too long after suing Trump Towers owners for $6 million over mold damage to his ritzy high-rise apartment, alleging faulty plumbing repairs. Many of the exclusive high-stakes games were held in Trincher’s apartment. Trincher’s sons Illya and Eugene are also named in the indictment.
“Taiwanchik” is the nickname given to Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, an alleged Russian mobster who received payment from the men (including Vadim Trincher) who ran the States-based operations. Millions were allegedly sent offshore to Tokhtakhounov from the racket, who has also been alleged to be a part of international arms-smuggling operations. Tokhtakhounov, who is also known as “Akim,” remains outside the United States and has yet to be arrested in connection with the case.
Tokhtakhounov has also been linked to the celebrity California card games that included many Hollywood A-listers, and that resulted in a civil suit against its participants by the victims of a investment fraudster who blew his stolen loot at those tables. Those games were organized by California socialite Molly Bloom, who is another of the Taiwanchik-Trincher defendants and may have been operating the Cali games under Tokhtakhounov’s oversight and protection.
Numerous other poker figures remain as defendants in the case, including Abe Mosseri, Alexander Katchaloff, Justin “BooostedJ” Smith, Peter “Nordberg” Feldman, John Hanson, Eddie Ting and Bill Edler. Most of those face charges comparative to what Barbalot and Rapoport faced. Several of those noted players have been charged with accepting and relaying sportsbets which were then funneled through Trincher’s offshore connections.