Much of the poker world expected Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar to receive the worst legal punishment for the demise of FTP. But it’s questionable as to how hard the US Department of Justice will come down on Bitar in light of a “medical condition” that he’s dealing with now.
There’s no word on what exactly Bitar’s medical condition is, but apparently it’s bad enough to seriously impact the Black Friday case against him.
Lawyers for both sides recently met with Judge Loretta Preska to discuss resolving the case as quickly as possible. Preska then said “the medical condition that (Bitar) faces makes it critical he try to resolve this case.” She has since given the legal teams a one-month period to discuss a plea agreement and finish this matter.
Many people thought that Bitar might be the only Full Tilt board member to get prison time because he deceived both fellow employees and FTP players. Furthermore, Bitar helped the world’s second largest poker room circumvent US banking restrictions against poker, and he severely mismanaged player funds. Because of this, FTP couldn’t honor player deposits after losing their gaming license in June of 2011.
Based on the mysterious medical condition, Bitar could receive a lighter than expected sentence. After all, he’s getting sympathy for the health problems, and lawyers have a limited time frame to reach a plea deal.
Other Full Tilt board members like Rafe Furst, Christ Ferguson and Howard Lederer have already settled their cases with the US Department of Justice. They each received multi-million dollar fines and had property seized, but avoided jail time through plea agreements. Furthermore, each of the three defendants were left with enough money and property to continue living comfortably.