Last February, the co-founder of Absolute Poker has suddenly returned to the United States, who said he wishes to face the years-old charges made against him. Late last month, after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge, he will then be sentenced this autumn in New York.
According to court documents, Scott Tom, who over the years had been living overseas, will be sentenced on September 28. Tom admitted to "the interstate transmission of gambling information."
Also, he had been accused of money laundering.
In 2002, Scott Tom co-founded Absolute Poker with the aid of ex-fraternity brothers at the University of Montana. The site served US customers from mid-2007 through 2009. A few weeks after Black Friday, Tom sneaked out of Absolute Poker's main headquarters in Costa Rica. Government police raided the offices of Absolute Poker near San Juan in connection with a no-pay complaint for the company's rank-and-file employees. Tom had lived for almost six years in the Caribbean island of Antigua, known formally as Antigua and Barbuda, which has no extradition agreement with the United States.
The court filing does not show any possibility of a jail sentence for Tom, who still remains a villainous figure in the online poker community for playing a central role in the Absolute Poker cheating scheme. Based on a thorough investigation, Tom himself was the mastermind behind the notorious "Potripper" tournament cheating scheme in 2006. One of the images in that investigation exposed dual log-ins from ‘playing' and ‘monitoring/god-mode' accounts from a computer whose logged IP locations matched Tom's island-hopping escapades across the Caribbean islands.
As a company, Absolute Poker officially admitted to just around $600,000 of insider cheating which transpired in those few weeks in 2006; however, investigators believe that the real total is quite higher than that. Ex-company insiders claim that for years, the company's head utilized accounts with the ‘god mode' ability - to be able to see opponents' hole cards - in an effort to illegally win back tournament overlays from players who participated.
According to the government, Absolute Poker earned around $500 million from American players during its operation. When the site shut down, an estimated $60 million worth of players' money was lost.
The government said in a court document, "Tom helped Absolute Poker, an unlawful internet gambling business, continue to operate in the United States and accept payments from United States customers without detection by United States law enforcement."
Any ill-gotten gains that Tom had will have to be forfeited.
A total of eleven individuals were criminally charged on the Black Friday incident. Everyone has faced their respective charges, except for PokerStars co-founder Isai Scheinberg.
Back in December 2011, a few months after Black Friday hit, the other founder of Absolute Poker Brent Beckley, had pleaded guilty in 2012 and eventually spent almost a year in jail.
In April this year, the government made an announcement, saying that the victims of Absolute Poker can start the process of receiving their long-lost funds from six years ago.