Joined: Feb '08
Age: 35 (M)
The internet is still coming to grips with the huge online gambling bust that just took down the U.S.'s three biggest online poker sites.
But Australia's Courier-Mail newspaper already has the scoop on the one man who may have single-handedly built the online industry ... then handed it to the U.S. government on a platter.
According to this story, Daniel Tzvetkoff was a young Australian entrepreneur who set up the payment processing schemes used by the biggest poker sites to handle their (mostly illegal) transactions.
He is described by those who know him as a "boy wonder" and "genius" who started his first company at 13 and knew all the intricacies of e-commerce.
He made Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars millions of dollars — and made as much as $150,000 a day for himself — but then got even more greedy and started taking their. They sued him, accusing Tzvetkoff of taking more than $100 million of their money.
Then last April, Tzvetkoff was arrested in Las Vegas and charged with the same crimes those sites' founders were charged with today: money laundering, bank fraud, wire fraud. As an Australian citizen with a lot of cash, he was considered a flight risk and denied bail.
Then after a "secret" meeting with prosecutors last August, he was suddenly out on bail. And now his former colleagues are the ones facing serious prison time.
Daniel Tzvetkoff knows the operations of these poker sites inside and out. It was knowledge of the financial industry that allowed them to operate. He's the one man positioned to give the U.S. Attorneys everything they needed to take down their businesses.
And it looks like that's exactly what he did, cooperating with the authorities to avoid his own lengthy jail sentence.
All the major gambling prosecutions in the U.S. since Tzvetkoff's arrest have been run out of the office of Arlo Devlin-Brown, the Manhattan Asst. U.S. Attorney who is Tzvetkoff's "handler."
According to a source, Tzvetkoff "knows how to reverse-engineer transactions to determine its original source," making him very valuable to investigators.
And the biggest irony of all? It's been rumored that the only reason the FBI got their hands on him is because Full Tilt or Poker Stars (the companies he used to work for and stole from) tipped off the FBI that he was going to be traveling to the United States last year.
They ratted him out ... and he turned the tables. No honor among thieves.
And as the Courier Mail put it, if this were still the old days, he'd be buried in the Las Vegas desert right now.
Joined: Mar '08
Location: United Kingdom
Age: 42 (M)
From one of the richest men in the world to bankrupcy and facing up to 75 bird...It is funny how this is getting flipped, they rat out the middle man over 25mill $, the very guy who was making it possable for them to earn that sort of money a day...seams mass amounts of money slowly deteriorates the brain.
Joined: Feb '11
Age: 55 (M)
Thanks for posting this, very interesting read it is. Amazing how some people can rat out someone else and thing nothing will happen to them. Guess he turned the tables on online poker, and told his story. In the long term, they will all pay. A sad day in poker history....
Joined: Jan '11
Location: United States
Age: 57 (M)
A little insite off topic abit here, but with all this crazy allegations that include fraud, lying, cheating, corrupt industry as some will define. We will all witness a change with on line gambling. What the government smells is $$ in this and in the long run they'll get their share by implementing policies that will assure them their share. It's just a stepping stone for the gov. to get involved enough to gain financial rewards from on line gambling.
None of it will go away! Names may change, account policies will change and a capable tracking system that assures no one will make money without the governemnt getting their sharewill be implemented. That's what this is all about. Don't know how long everything will take to get properly implemented, but at least here in the U.S. or should I say for the U.S. citizens who gamble on-line, everyone will still have that opportunity. There will be forms required to be turned into for tax purposes just like it is in Vegas when an individual wins x amount of $$. As I keep repeating myself here. Government wants their share of the $$ and that's the real root cause for this whole scandal.
Just one dumb American's opinion, but feel strong about it. Good Luck to All!
Joined: Jun '10
Location: United States
Age: 55 (M)
I agree 100%! I have no problem with paying taxes on winnings to the US government. They want their cut and everyone will suffer until the US government collects their share... right, wrong, or indifferent.