Chad Elie

Chad Elie / A. Jeff Ifrah Malpractice Tussle: Payment Processing Communications

chad-elie2The nasty legal confrontation between convicted Black Friday payment processor Chad Elie and gaming attorney A. Jeff Ifrah has included the filing of dozens of new pages of documentation related to the banking and business relationships Elie and Ifrah had with sites such as PokerStars in the pre-Black Friday era.

Elie and his Nevada attorney, Sigal Chattah, have entered more than 50 pages of documentation into Elie’s lawsuit against Ifrah in support of Elie’s claims of malpractice and breach of contract by Ifrah.

In Ifrah’s motion to dismiss, Ifrah’s own attorneys claimed in a footnote that Elie asserted Ifrah and/or his law firm to have…:

  • Received commissions for payment processing;
  • Received payments from poker providers for procuring bank relationships;
  • Induced Plaintiff [Elie] to enter relationships with banks for poker payment processing;
  • Induced Plaintiff to continue poker payment processing;
  • Received (paid by Elie to Ifrah through various means) $4,000,000 by Plaintiff in attorney’s fees and commissions; c
  • Cooperated with law enforcement against Plaintiff’s and other clients’ interests;
  • Failed to disclose conflicts of interest;
  • Breached rules of professional responsibility.

All of the above were specified as “false claims.”  However, the evidence submitted on behalf of Elie in response appears to support many of Elie’s assertions.  Whether or not the motion to dismiss is upheld (as there appear to be other legal considerations), the following documents are now part of the public record:

A communication from early 2011, following the closure of the SunFirst Bank processing operation, involving Elie, Ifrah and PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg, in which Ifrah appears to be closely involved with the setting up of possible processing or bank-acquisition possibilities at Chicago’s All-American Bank:

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A curious page and related phone texts between Elie and Ifrah, following the Black Friday indictments, that show an ongoing Ifrah/PokerStars relationship, and have them cooperating with Elie in the procuring of certain information:

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Here’s a sequence of e-mails confirming extensive payments made from Elie and related companies to Ifrah’s legal firm.  While the payments may not total to exactly $4 million, as Elie may have included a lump-sum payment of $2 million made through Ifrah to PokerStars as part of his claim, the e-mails appear to show a significant financial arrangement:

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Other documents of interest include the processing agreement between Elie’s “21 Debit” firm and the Stars-affiliated Stelekram Ltd. entity through which some processing was channeled; an extended exchange between Ifrah and Elie’s processing partner and indicted e-marketing fraudster Jeremy Johnson, in which Ifrah asks for help from SunFirst Bank in processing refunds to State of Washington residents following Stars’ withdrawal from that market; and earlier communications showing Ifrah as an active representative of Stars’ interests during the Intabill processing days.

Though we here at FlushDraw aren’t lawyers, it appears to our practiced laymans’ eyes that Elie’s success in his legal action will depend on two points — the legal parsing of specific phrases in his plea allocution as noted above, and the extent to which the “clean hands” doctrine regarding Elie’s earlier poker processing comes into play.

In a brief communication with FlushDraw, Elie has also alleged possessing additional documentation regarding Ifrah’s role in the PokerStars and Full Tilt processing.  That purported evidence is in connection to Elie’s allegations that Ifrah turned state’s evidence at some point during the government’s ongoing Black Friday investigation.

We’ll also extend an open invitation to both Chad Elie and A. Jeff Ifrah to submit to serious interviews about the relationship at the heart of this lawsuit.

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