Home » article » australian man avoids us prison time for casino scam

Australian Man Avoids U.S Prison Time for Casino Scam

Publishing: June 16, 2014

An Australian man has avoided jail time in the U.S and is back in Australia after being involved in a multi-million dollar racket that involved some of the biggest online gaming websites in the U.S, including PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.

The man, 31-year-old Daniel Tzvetkoff, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of running an illegal gambling business back in 2010. Though he pled guilty to the charges in August 2010, he was not sentenced until June 2014. While he was given credit for time served in the intervening years and was not sentenced to additional time, he was slapped with a $13 million forfeiture.

Part of the reason for the delay in sentencing, and for the lenient sentence itself, is that Tzvetkoff aided authorities in building their cases against some of the websites he was involved with. His cooperation led to charges being brought against the owners of Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and PokerStars.

Tzvetkoff’s involvement with the websites was related to his own business Intabill, which funneled money between gamblers and website operators through U.S banks without claiming the funds as being related to gambling. Only a limited number of U.S states allow online gambling, while it remains illegal for most of the country, and illegal for gaming operators to accept their business. It is estimated that Tzvetkoff processed as much as $500 million in transactions between the gamblers and websites, and was estimated to have a personal fortune of $AU80 million at one point.

The tale of Tzvetkoff’s rise and fall is a remarkable one, as he purchased a $AU28 million mansion on the Gold Coast back in 2008, as well as a $AU7.5 million super yacht called Maximus. Just a few years later he was bankrupt and under witness protection as he turned on his former business partners to save himself from a much more grisly fate.

Those business partners are now facing their own music. 8 of them have pleaded guilty in the probe, including the former owner of Absolute Poker, and the former CEO of Full Tilt Poker. PokerStars meanwhile was hit with a hefty $US731 million forfeiture, and was forced to take over full control of Full Tilt in their settlement. Other charges are still pending.

For Tzvetkoff, he’s now back in Australia with his wife and children, and working for an organization deemed “respectable” by his attorney, as their chief technology officer.