Indicted Black Friday payment processing figure John Campos has reached a deal with US federal prosecutors, according to Forbes’ Nathan Vardi. Campos, the former vice-chairman of Utah’s SunFirst Bank, was facing an April 9 trial date after being indicted on April 15, 2011 on multiple charges including fraud and money laundering for his role in facilitating payments for online poker companies. Instead, numerous sources told Vardi that Campos has agreed to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor charge.
News of the deal follows Monday’s announcement that Campos’ co-defendant, Chad Elie, had also reached a deal with prosecutors. The two men had been the only Black Friday defendants currently in federal custody that appeared willing to challenge their charges in court. Vardi speculated that the feds had been keen to avoid arguing their case in court, apparently in the belief that it might negatively impact future trials involving the other five men indicted on Black Friday – including PokerStars’ Isai Scheinberg, Full Tilt Poker’s Ray Bitar and Absolute Poker’s Scott Tom – who remain ‘at large.’ Presumably both Campos and Elie are now supplying the feds with info that may bolster the government’s case against the remaining indictees. The lack of a Campos/Elie trial also means the debatable issue of online poker’s illegality will not be given a public hearing in a court of law.
Tuesday also saw the release of Peter Dean’s report (read it here) on the Alderney Gambling Control Commission’s (AGCC) handling of the collapse of its licensee Full Tilt Poker (FTP). The AGCC tasked Dean, the former chairman of the UK Gambling Commission, with launching the investigation in December. Dean’s conclusions? The AGCC made some mistakes, such as an over-reliance on dealing with “FTP’s external lawyers” rather than directly with FTP’s ownership/management. Dean described this as a “less than ideal” method for, among other things, the AGCC to satisfy itself as to the credentials of FTP’s owners. While characterizing the whole FTP debacle as “deplorable,” Dean believes the AGCC “fulfilled its statutory obligations in relation to FTP and that [the AGCC’s] actions were appropriate timely and fair.”
Understandably, the AGCC is pleased as punch with the report, but lest it be seen as patting itself too firmly on the back while FTP’s players remain unpaid, the AGCC claims to be “in advanced stages of implementing a new approach towards the protection of player funds on a risk-assessed basis.”