Absolute Poker co-founder and former president Scott Tom is back at home in Antigua after serving just seven days in jail in the United States. According to a report on CalvinAyre.com, the only other punishment for the man at the helm of the Absolute Poker “superuser” scandal and the guy who disappeared with tens of millions of dollars of player funds after Black Friday in 2011, was a $300,000 fine.
Tom returned to the United States this spring to face charges, signing a plea deal on May 31st. The only charge to which he pled guilty was just a single misdemeanor count of accessory after the fact for transferring gambling information. It has to do with violating the UIGEA, not for cheating his customers then running off with their money.
At the sentencing hearing on September 28th, Tom’s attorney, James Henderson, asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara C. Moses to sentence his client to time served, but Moses “went rogue,” as CalvinAyre.com put it, sentencing Tom to seven days in jail. Moses felt that since Tom had never really spent time in custody for the crime that time served didn’t make sense.
What was kind of funny about the sentence was that Tom was apparently quite confident that he was going to get off with time served, so he bought a plane ticket for a September 30th departure to Antigua. So while he had to buy a new ticket (or at least pay a change fee), he is now a free man. He was not required to have a supervised release.
PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg is now the only one of the eleven people named in the Black Friday indictment to have not settled in one way or another with the U.S.
As mentioned, Scott Tom was the main culprit in the “superuser” or “god mode” cheating scandal at Absolute Poker in which he and accomplices were able to see players’ hole cards during games. They racked up loads of winnings using this cheat before finally being found out by sleuths in the poker community.
And then, when the Black Friday indictments were unsealed on April 15th, 2011, Absolute Poker shut down and Tom fled, leaving customers high and dry.
The silver lining, at least, is that former Absolute Poker customers are finally seeing their money returned to them, as the Department of Justice had enough money left after Full Tilt Poker customers were paid back to start a refund process with Absolute Poker players. The process began in April and just a couple weeks ago, the first wave of payments hit bank accounts.
One would imagine Scott Tom is now out of the online poker business for good. Too bad he probably also has millions of dollars to fall back on. I would say it must be nice, but while I am not rich, I can at least feel good about the fact that I am not a thieving asshole.