WSOP Winner Darren Woods Charged With Online Poker FraudOctober 17, 2014 2:02 pm
UK WSOP winner Darren Woods, 29, has appeared in Sheffield Crown Court this week, accused of committing 12 charges of online poker fraud between January 2007 and January 2012. His father, Morteza Gharoon, 56, also appears to have aided in four of the alleged frauds including money laundering, but said his son’s reassurances convinced him that his actions were legitimate.
Back in 2011, Darren Woods was a respected limit hold’em coach at pokerstrategy.com, and had just won the WSOP $2,500 Limit Hold’em Six Handed Event for $213,431, subsequently leading to 888.com offering him a lucrative affiliate sponsorship deal. Soon after, however, the player known as ‘Dooshcom’ was accused of colluding with ‘Benkaremail’ to win hundreds of thousands of dollars against a number of high stakes online players at the site’s $500/1000 shortstack tables.
The group of online players then posted their allegations on the TwoPlusTwo poker forums, and later sent hand history details to pokerstrategy.com, who subsequently fired Woods. 888’s fraud department then froze Woods’ account(s) while investigating the matter and eventually released the news that the company had passed its findings onto the Humberside Police.
That was two years ago, and with the case now firmly in court, a number of interesting details about the alleged frauds have now finally been released, including allegations of multi-accounting. As a Telegraph article explains:
“Woods allegedly made money from the fraudulently opened accounts by playing at the same online poker table at the same time using different identities, giving him an advantage because he would unfairly know the hands of some of the other players.”
Nevertheless, its unclear whether Wood’s alleged cheating forms the basis of the prosecution, or whether the main slant is related to Wood’s apparently scamming 888 out of £147,266 ($236,994) in affiliate commission by allegedly using other people’s identities to claim affiliate commission for himself.
Although proving the identity fraud case against 888 should be pretty straightforward, if the prosecution are also able to show that Woods did also cheat his fellow players, it will be hailed as a landmark case for online poker, and mean that after years in limbo those affected players could finally receive their money back, which has apparently been languishing in Dooshcom’s frozen account at 888.