The founder of an Internet poker company has been arrested and faces multiple charges after conning online players out of millions of dollars.
Raymond Bitar, CEO of Full Tilt Poker, was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Bitar said that he has voluntarily returned from Ireland to face the charges.
“I know that a lot of people are very angry at me,” Bitar said in the statement. “I understand why. Full Tilt should never have gotten into a position where it could not repay player funds.”
“For the last 15 months, I have worked hard on possible solutions to get the players repaid,” Bitar continued. “Returning today is part of that process. I believe we are near the end of a very long road, and I will continue to do whatever is required to get the players repaid, and I hope that it will happen soon.”
Full Tilt owed $350 million to players around the world while holding only $60 million to $70 million to cover payments, authorities allege. More than $430 million in gamblers’ winnings were allegedly siphoned to Bitar and other owners of the online poker site.
Bitar faces up to 145 years in prison for gambling, bank fraud, and money laundering offenses.