According to Online Poker Report and Gambling911, Absolute Poker Co-Founder Brent Beckley (pictured) was released from prison four months early. In July of last year, Beckley was sentenced to 14 months behind bars after admitting to violating U.S. gambling laws and committing bank fraud. However, he was apparently set free after just 10 months. PocketFives could not independently confirm the story as of press time.
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A YouTube video posted on Online Poker Report’s website supposedly shows Beckley’s release from confinement. It features a white 15-passenger van out of which Beckley appears carrying a blue canvas bag in one hand and what looks like a white plastic bag in the other. The person filming the video is parked in a vehicle to the right of the van and, with an unidentified woman, greets Beckley to many hugs and kisses.
As Online Poker Report pointed out, the Federal Bureau of Prisons website still lists Beckley as being incarcerated in Salt Lake City, Utah with a projected release date in October. As author Chris Grove put it, “I have not seen the news confirmed by a source other than G911. A shortened sentence wouldn’t come as a complete surprise, as the DOJ argued aggressively for leniency in Beckley’s case.”
During one court appearance, Beckley told Judge Ronald Ellis, “I knew it was illegal to accept credit cards from players to gamble on the internet… I knew it was illegal to deceive the banks… I fooled myself into thinking that what I was doing was okay.”
As of Black Friday, Beckley’s residence was listed as Costa Rica and he was 31 years of age. He was charged on that date with conspiracy to violate the UIGEA, violating the UIGEA, operation of an illegal gambling business, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy. Ten others, including Absolute Poker’s Scott Tom, were indicted as well.
Interestingly, Judge Lewis Kaplan, who presided over Beckley’s sentencing hearing, felt that the forthcoming sentence had to “make clear that the Government of the United States means business in these types of cases.” Hence, a 14-month term was handed down, although Beckley may have only served 10 months, or 70%.
Players from Absolute Poker and its sister site, Ultimate Bet, have not yet been paid back after Black Friday. Recently, the U.S. Government was reportedly preparing to auction the sites’ assets off to the highest bidder. The future of player refunds is not known.
We’ll keep you posted on the latest on this story right here on PocketFives.