Scales

Taiwanchik-Trincher Update 1: Plea Deals Announced for Greenberg, Six Others

scales-justiceBreaking news today from the Southern District of New York United States federal judicial system, where the office of online-poker bane Preet Bharara has announced plea deals for Slava “Stan” Greenberg and six other defendants in the case of the Taiwanchik-Trincher gambling enterprise, a major gambling ring with nationwide connections and extensive ties to Russian Mob international crime figures.

Stan Greenberg was among several middle-level defendants in the case, in which 34 defendants were charged with various crimes including money laundering, racketeering and extortion and along with several different forms of gambling offenses.  About a dozen or so of the defendants have prominent poker-world ties, including Trincher and his two sons, Eugene and Ilya.

Greenberg’s plea deal was announced in a press release issued today by Bharara’s SDNY office.  Greenberg pled guilty to a single charge of participating in a racketeering conspiracy, according to the release, and faces a maximum 20-year prison sentence followed by three years of supervised release.  It’s unlikely he’ll receive a term anywhere near that length when sentenced in November.  Greenberg also forfeits an unspecified financial sum traceable to his activities on behalf of the Taiwanchik-Trincher ring and related activities.

Greenberg was one of five of the 34 defendants to be named on the indictment’s first count of racketeering conspiracy, and it was the only count of 27 on which he was named.  The other four people charged in that initial count, Alimzhan “Taiwanchik” Toktakhounov, Vadim Trincher, Anatoly Golubchik and Michael Sall, are not among those with whom Bharara’s office has negotiated plea deals.  It’s unlikely Touktakhounov will be involved in any sort of deal, since he remains wanted by several governments on a long list of more severe charges, including arms smuggling and fixing an Olympic event.

The primary Taiwanchik-Trincher ring, so named for the prominent alleged roles of Toktakhounov and Trincher, a 2009 World Poker Tour winner, was headquarted in New York, with extensive sportsbetting and poker operations that included both the elite games hosted in Trincher’s own Trump Towers apartment and celebrity-studded West Coast games hosted by Molly Bloom, a relatively minor defendant in the case.

While Bharara’s office took note of the Greenberg deal and his relative prominence among the defendants to announce the latest plea deal, it comes at the end of a spurt of recent activity in the case, much of which was finalized in the last week.  Five of the 34 defendants reached plea deals in the first several months following the indictments: Bryan Zuriff, William Barbalat, Kirill Rapoport, Edwin Ting and poker pro Justin “BoostedJ” Smith, who were all among lower-tier defendants in the case.

Greenberg and six others have reached similar plea deals in recent weeks, according to the SDNY announcement.  None of them are the major poker figures involved in the case, but include the following:

  • October 4, 2013: Dmitry Druzhinsky and David Aaron pled guilty to gambling charges;
  • October 10, 2013: Alexander Zaverukha pled guilty to gambling charges;
  • October 16, 2013: Nicholas Hirsch pled guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud;
  • October 17, 2013: Anatoly Shteyngrab pled guilty to conspiring to commit money laundering;
  • October 18, 2013: Yugeshwar Rajkumar pled guilty to gambling charges.

Only Rajkumar among that group has any sort of appreciable poker history, and that’s of an ignominious type; he was evicted from the Borgata property during a different poker tournament, losing a very playable stack and a shot at a life-changing payday.  With the exception of Smth, the most notable figures in the case, including Abe Mosseri, John Hanson, Bill Edler and Peter Feldman in addition to the three Trinchers, are either in legal negotiations or are awaiting a possible trial, which could come in 2014.

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