Nelson Burtnick, the former Full Tilt Poker head of payment processing, has pled guilty to conspiracy and gambling charges before a magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
The Washington Post reports that Burtnick’s decision to take the hammer from the U.S. government was done in large part to cooperate to the government’s continued crackdown of the online gambling business.
During his date at the courts in Manhattan, Burtnick was candid in telling his side of the story, recounting how he was cognizant of what he was doing and often had to find different ways to disguise the money coming out of U.S. banks in order to circumvent U.S. laws on online gambling. Burtnick even admitted that he fully understood that he was breaking the law during his time as FTP’s head of payment processing, spanning from December 2006 to April 2011.
According to prosecutors, Burtnick and other employees of the three poker companies that were shut down after infamous Black Friday crackdown, even went so far as to make it look like all the gambling transactions they were making came from non-gambling related businesses.
Burtnick’s guilty plea comes a few months after he finally came out of hiding to turn himself in to US authorities. At that time, other Black Friday indictees were all getting busy having sentences meted down on them, including Absolute Poker founder Brent Beckley who received a 14-month sentence, and fellow payment processors Ira Rubin and Chad Elie with the former getting slapped with a three-year sentence.
Despite his cooperation, Burtnick could still pay some pretty stiff punishments, including paying an unspecified amount of restitution and forfeiture of all the money and salary he received from his time in the company. Still beats racking up years in prison, though.
Sentencing has been set for December 19, at which time Burtnick could still be looking at spending as much as 15 years behind bars, although with full cooperation to the prosecution, the latter could request for leniency, potentially softening his sentence.