PokerStars Founder Isai Scheinberg Surrenders to U.S. Government

PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg has surrendered to the United States federal government. (PokerStars photo)

Nearly nine years after the United States federal government charged him with bank fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling, PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg has surrendered to U.S. authorities.

According to a article, Scheinberg travelled from Switzerland to New York City on Friday, January 17 and was met by federal agents who took him into custody. According to the article, this was the culmination of negotiations between Scheinberg, 73, and the U.S. government which began when an extradition order was sought after Scheinberg travelled to Switzerland months earlier.

Scheinberg founded PokerStars in 2001. Following the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006, PokerStars continued to accept American customers and soared to become the largest online poker site in the world. On April 15, 2011 the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York seized the domain name and charged Scheinberg and other executives from Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker.

PokerStars eventually re-acquired the domain name and continued to operate outside of the United States. In 2012, the company paid the U.S. government $731 million to settle a civil lawsuit the government had brought against the company. As part of that settlement, PokerStars acquired the assets of Full Tilt Poker and provided the government with $184 million to go towards making American Full Tilt players whole following the company’s collapse in the wake of Black Friday.

Scheinberg sold the company to a group lead by David Baazov in 2014 for $4.9 billion.

According to Forbes, federal prosecutor Olga Zverovich told a hearing on Wednesday that Scheinberg had been negotiating with the government for some time.

“We have an agreement in principle on the basic terms,” Zverovich said.

Scheinberg is the last of those charged on Black Friday to face a judge in the United States. Scheinberg plead not guilty and was released on a $1 million bail. He also surrendered his passports.


  1. This has in reality all been settled before he even touched ground in the USA…Just popping over to hand over the dodgy brown envelopes sign off the formalities etc and a few people in particular (including him) live happily ever after thee end!……