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Former Absolute Poker Executive Returns to United States to Face Black Friday Charges

Zachary Gleason

Scott Tom decided to face illegal internet gambling charges after nearly six years in hiding.  Tom, former founder and CEO of Absolute Poker, entered a not guilty plea in a New York federal court this week.  Tom faces charges related processing payments related to illegal online gambling at Absolute Poker.

Tom was hiding in Antigua, according to court documents obtained by Flushdraw.net.  Tom took a flight from Barbados to an undisclosed U.S. airport last week.  He was detained by federal authorities upon landing.  Flushdraw reported that Tom already prearranged some terms to his release before entering the United States.  This included a $500,000 bail, house arrest at his father’s house in Las Vegas pending settlement of the case and the ability to travel to see his mother’s grave in Montana.  He is also permitted to travel to his lawyer’s office in Los Angeles and court in New York.

Tom was the main figure in the Absolute Poker insider cheating scandal.  Tom is accused of using testing accounts at Absolute Poker to see the hole cards of opponents at cash game and tournament tables.  There is a mountain of evidence to back up these claims.  Unfortunately for the affected players, the Black Friday charges related to payment processing and illegal gambling to pertain to the online poker cheating.

Tom was one of two Absolute Poker employees charged on Black Friday, which was April 15, 2011.  Brent Beckley was also indicted for his part in processing payments for Absolute Poker related to illegal online gambling.  Beckley pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 14 months in a low security federal prison.  Beckley served 10 months and was released.  Recent reports note that Beckley may once again be working for offshore betting sites.

Absolute Poker failed to pay its players after it was indicted in April 2015.  The site owed about $50 million to players.  It paid less than one percent of that amount before closing shop.  Tom disappeared after the company and its executives were indicted.  The site dealt its last hand in October 2011 before going offline without a trace.

Absolute Poker was also related to the UltimateBet cheating scandal that saw insiders steal more than $20 million.  Russ Hamilton was believed to be the mastermind behind that online poker scam.  Absolute Poker acquired UltimateBet and merged the two sites into the Cereus Network.  UltimateBet also failed after Black Friday.  All of its players lost any money deposited on the site.

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