Patrice Tierney, wife of 14-year Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass), was sentenced on Thursday to 30 days in prison for helping her brother run an illegal credit betting operation. Tierney had struck a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to tax fraud, for which she would serve 90-days of home confinement followed by probation. But it all came apart when US District Judge William Young decided to play his ‘I’m the guy in the black robe’ card, saying “I cannot excuse a violation of the law of this severity. There must be an actual sanction.’’
Tierney’s brother Robert Eremian, along with assorted other Eremians, ran Sports Offshore (SOS), a credit betting operation serving US customers from the island of Antigua. Contrary to how the situation was portrayed in the media, SOS was never licensed by Antigua, as credit betting is illegal on the island. Instead, Eremian worked under the radar in Antigua, while dozens of ‘agents’ scattered across the US recruited customers and collected their debts.
Mrs. Tierney’s crime was to manage Eremian’s assets and hand financial info to his tax preparer, as well as being dumb enough to (as she claims) believe her brother’s funds came from his work as a ‘consultant’ in Antigua. The news came as a particular shock to Tierney’s husband, who was up for re-election this past November. John Tierney had voted against the UIGEA in 2006, and his wife’s apparent complicity in anything gambling related provided plenty of ammo for his primary challenger. But Tierney survived, and we’re confident Mrs. Tierney will, too.
Of course, Mrs. Tierney wouldn’t be going to jail if her brother had been handling money for PokerStars or FullTilt, because then Mrs. Tierney would have had something to trade in exchange for her freedom. Further to our story yesterday, we can confirm that Maryland prosecutors secured cooperation from Michael Garone, one of the men caught up in the payment processor sweep related to online poker.
Recently unsealed court documents show that Garone pleaded guilty to money laundering in January, 2008, but it was only in December that he was sentenced to one year of probation. The delay in sentencing was due to Garone cooperating with what U.S. Attorney Richard Kay called “rather extensive undercover operations.” According to court transcripts of that January hearing obtained by the Baltimore City Paper, it was requested that this fact be kept under seal, with Kay telling Judge Catherine Blake that “any possible leak of [Garone’s] actual cooperation probably would endanger the ongoing undercover operation.”
Last on our list of legal laggards, we have online poker phenom Viktor ‘Isirdul1’ Blom. The man who recently confirmed his not-all-that-secret identity may regret making all those headlines in 2010 with his frequent multi-million-dollar swings in profits and losses. Financial daily Dagens Industri recently noted that the Swedish tax agency Skatteverket was taking a long hard look at online poker firms that purport to be based outside the country yet maintain much of their operations in Sweden. By the newspaper’s calculation, Blom (who curently lives in London) could owe up to 1b kronor ($149m) to the state. Kinda puts that $4.2m he lost in five hours to Brian Hastings in perspective, don’t it?