Black Friday Informant Daniel Tzvetkoff Could Avoid Further Jail Time

Daniel TzvetkoffAccording to an article in the Courier Mail, Black Friday informant Daniel Tzvetkoff, the internet whiz kid who is of Bulgarian origin but an Australian resident, could avoid jail time even though he was a major player in America’s online poker industry prior to the Black Friday incident.

At the peak of his career and with the online poker industry booming, Tzvetkoff had an estimated net worth of $82 million, a $27 million Gold Coast home, Lamborghinis and Ferraris in his garage, and sponsored a V8 Supercar racing team in Australia, Team IntaRacing.

Daniel Tzvetkoff’s Intabill payment processing operation handled transactions between US based customers and offshore internet gaming companies including online poker sites, with the transactions disguised so as to avoid the banking institutions knowing the payments were “gambling” related.

But in 2009 Tzvetkoff’s world came crashing down when his Brisbane based payment processing company was accused of stealing more than $100 million. These accusations came directly from online poker operators.

In 2010, while Tzvetkoff was at one of the top casinos in Las Vegas for an internet gambling conference, the U.S. authorities arrested him.

Tzvetkoff spent more than four months in a New York prison for bank fraud and money laundering, but because he was an informant for the U.S. Department of Justice, which included handing over more than 90,000 documents that helped the authorities go after the companies of the three biggest US-facing online poker operators  – PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Ultimate Bet/Absolute Poker – could lead to them cutting a deal.

The lawyer who is representing Tzvetkoff in the case, Robert Goldstein, said, “Tzvetkoff would probably avoid further jail time and be sentenced to the four months he has already served in a Brooklyn prison.

More than anything else, the U.S. DoJ wanted to go after the major players and following the indictments the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Ultimate Bet/Absolute Poker were up for charges relating to bank fraud, money laundering and operating illegal gambling businesses, thanks in large part to information supplied by Tzvetkoff during the course of their investigations.

According to the Courier Mail article, “Tzvetkoff faced a 75-year sentence in a Federal jail when he was arrested in Las Vegas in 2010 for illegally processing more than $1 billion, but the 31-year-old, along with his parents and mother-in-law, have made a passionate plea to a New York judge ahead of his sentencing.”

During the hearing, Goldstein suggested that the four months that his client had already spent in prison “constitutes a harsh and significant punishment,’’ especially for a “first time offender” that previous to this had never stepped foot into a prison.

The actual location of Tzvetkoff was a mystery following the Black Friday indictments in 2011. After his arrest it was understood he went into hiding in the United States under witness protection after becoming an informant, however, according to the Courier Mail news piece, “He has recently been living and working in Australia.”

Tzvetkoff’s parents and mother-in-law have supported the once high flying internet mogul and sent a letter to the judge who is trying Tzvetkoff’s case saying that Daniel has matured into “a responsible, capable, and motivated young man” and was “young at the time and therefore easily influenced by others.”

And it appears as though the assistance Tzvetkoff gave to U.S. authorities has paid off in a big way since in a probation report it was recommended that a sentence of between six and twelve months’ jail time would suffice.