On April 15, 2011, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) shook the online poker world by shutting down the US related operations of three internet poker giants, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker/UB. That day will be known forever in online poker history as “Black Friday”. In early June 2014, Daniel Tzvetkoff, 31, was sentenced based on his original guilty plea to one count of operating an illegal gambling operation and one count of conspiracy related the to money laundering that led to Black Friday.
Who is Daniel Tzvetkoff?
Daniel Tzvetkoff is a resident of Australia who worked as an I.T. consultant for the three poker giants. He was involved in a scheme to help those companies and its principals launder approximately $1 billion US dollars from US players through a company (Intabill), which was listed under his name. For his part, there were claims he was making as much as $3 million US dollars a week from the scheme. He was arrested in April of 2010 while attending a conference in New York.
Based on the charges filed by the DOJ, Tzvetkoff was facing 76 years for his part in the scheme. From the time of his arrest, he began furnishing documents and detailed information about the scheme to the FBI. This information led to the eventual filing of charges against company principals in the case United States v. Scheinberg, from which at least eight defendants have already plead guilty. Based on his cooperation, US district judge Lewis Kaplan sentenced Tzvetkoff to the four months already served following his arrest and a fine of $13 million US dollars.
At this point in time, Full Tilt Poker has repaid its players, and is currently back in good standing as an internet poker site. Both PokerStars and Absolute Poker decided to file bankruptcy, leaving many of its players out their deposits and winning. Tzvetkoff is reportedly living in Australia with his family, and working for a “respectable organization,” according to his attorney, Robert Goldstein.