CEO of online poker site Full Tilt arrested in alleged Ponzi scheme

Raymond Bitar, founder and CEO of poker site Full Tilt, was arrested today for being involved in an alleged Ponzi scheme. The once largely popular gambling site scammed users out of hundreds of millions of dollars and Bitar was greeted today by officials at John F. Kennedy International Airport after returning from Ireland to face his charges.

Bitar is the most significant individual to turn himself in over the course of the 15 month-long journey to prosecute three of the previously most popular U.S. poker sites online. Once landed, Bitar said that he fully understands why Full Tilt should have never reached a point where it was unable to repay player funds, and that his return to the U.S. is part of an effort to make sure the players do get repaid soon.

Authorities allege the poker site had owed $350 million to its worldwide base of users while it held only $60 to $70 million at the time for covering payments and accusing Bitar of defrauding users by lying to them. Charged with gambling, bank fraud and money laundering, Bitar could face up to 145 years in prison.

[via Wall Street Journal]