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Meet the Boy Genius Who Allegedly Created--Then Took Down--the Online Poker Industry

Crime

As you may have heard, earlier today, the FBI shut down the three largest internet poker sites in operation.

From the LA Times:

The founders of the three largest online poker sites were indicted on Friday in what could serve as a death blow to a thriving industry.

Eleven executives at PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and a number of their affiliates were charged with bank fraud and money laundering in an indictment unsealed in a Manhattan court. Two of the defendants were arrested on Friday morning in Utah and Nevada. Federal agents are searching for the others.

Prosecutors are seeking to immediately shut down the sites and to eventually send the executives to jail and to recover $3 billion from the companies. By Friday afternoon Full Tilt Poker’s site displayed a message explaining that “this domain name has been seized by the F.B.I. pursuant to an Arrest Warrant.”

Business Insider has the story of the young Australian man who seemingly played a hand in propping these companies up--and then bringing them down:

Daniel Tzvetkoff was a young Australian entrepreneur who set up the payment processing schemes used by the biggest poker sites to handle their (mostly illegal) transactions.

He is described by those who know him as a "boy wonder" and "genius" who started his first company at 13 and knew all the intricacies of e-commerce.

He made Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars millions of dollars — and made as much as $150,000 a day for himself — but then got even more greedy and started taking their. They sued him, accusing Tzvetkoff of taking more than $100 million of their money.

According to Australia's Courier Mail, Tzvetkoff may have been involved in bringing the three gambling websites down:

A former Queensland internet king is believed to have been a key figure behind FBI action against three major gambling websites in the United States.

Daniel Tzvetkoff, who had been facing 75 years jail in the US, has done a deal with prosecutors which has seen him freed on bail and living in a secret New York location.

The Courier-Mail reported today that the deal came after Tzvetkoff - a Brisbane boy wonder, who started a company with school mates at 13 - became embroiled in a massive, $543 million stew of money laundering, bank fraud and conspiracy that could bring down the world of online gambling.

Business Insider has an additional piece of information: according to a rumor, one of the online gambling companies, either Full Tilt or Poker Stars, tipped U.S. officials off that Tzvetkoff would be traveling to America.

"They ratted him out ... and he turned the tables. No honor among thieves."

Read more at Business Insider.

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