Ray Bitar's Price Of Fredom Set At $40 millionApril 17, 2013 2:30 pm
Originally facing up to 35 years behind bars for his part in the Full Tilt Poker (FTP) scandal, former FTP CEO Ray Bitar has now been sentenced to time already served in prison, but must also forfeit $40 million in assets.
Reading from a prepared statement, Bitar expressed remorse and explained: “I regret my actions. I know they were wrong and illegal. I am very sorry. I’m very sorry for the problems that Full Tilt Poker got into. It never should have happened.”
Ray Bitar was arrested last July at John F. Kennedy Airport and spent 7 days behind bars, before being released on a $2.4 million bail and spending the rest of his time under house arrest. In the meantime, the 40 year-old has suffered from poor health and is in desperate need of a heart transplant, without which doctors have given him just an even chance of surviving the next 12 months.
Last week, Ray Bitar then reached a deal to plead guilty to charges related to the Black Friday indictments, but his physical condition subsequently ruled out the possibility of being handed a custodial sentence. As US District Judge Loretta Preska explains:
“The driving factor in this sentence is Mr. Bitar’s precarious health condition. The Federal Bureau of Prisons is not able to provide the care that Mr. Bitar needs. Prison almost undoubtedly would kill him. The possibility of prison would make Mr. Bitar ineligible for a heart transplant, which would also impose a death sentence.”
With Ray Bitar’s $40 million fine, all the former company directors have now settled their cases with the Department of Justice. Chris Ferguson agreed to forfeit $14 million of dividends he left in the Full Tilt coffers, plus a $2.35 million fine; Howard Lederer‘s fine was estimated between $2.5 million and $10 million; while Rafe Furst, too, forfeited an undisclosed sum.