Six Month Sentence for Illya Trincher; 29th Taiwanchik-Trincher Defendant Pleads Guilty
Federal judge Jesse M. Furman has handed down a six-month sentence to “Taiwanchik-Trincher” sportsbetting organizer Illya Trincher, who pled guilty in connection of a major gambling ring centered in New York City that included both poker and sportsbetting activities and is asserted by authorities to have laundered tens of millions of dollars.
The activities by Trincher, one of the sons of 2009 WPT event winner Vadim Trincher, dealt largely around the operation of online sportsbetting sites, which took action from dozens of high-stakes poker pros and other celebrities, in what a USAO press release described as “cater[ing] primarily to multi-millionaire and billionaire clients.”
The sportsbetting operation, which ran through online site HMSSports.com and other sites, was referred to as the “Nahmad-Trincher Organization” and was one of two secondary rings to the “Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization,” named father Vadim and international arms dealer Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, the only one of this case’s 34 defendants who remains a fugitive from the US justice system.
Illya Trincher’s father Vadim and brother Eugene are two of the other 34 defendants in the case, with Vadim one of two defendants who received the stiffest term issued in connection with the case issued to date, at five years. The junior Trincher’s term of six months — with an additional six months of probation — appears relatively mild when compared with some of the other sentences, though the sentencing also confirms the previous plea-deal agreement of a $6.4 million civil forfeiture. International art dealer Hillel “Helly” Nahmad, Illya Trincher’s partner in the HMSSports-centered operation, received one year in prison for his similar role.
Illya Trincher officially pled guilty to operating an illegal gambling business, while several interrelated charges were dismissed in the deal, including money-laundering counts.
In addition to the Trincher sentencing, the USAO quietly confirmed that a plea deal has been reached with a 29th defendant in the case, Illya Rozenfeld. Rozenfeld pled guilty last week to a single count, interstate travel in aid of an unlawful activity (illegal gambling). Rozenfeld, one of the lesser defendants in the case, may also have agreed to a civil forfeiture amounting to several hundred thousand dollars, since an uptick in the tally as proclaimed by the USAO in releases connected with the case now has the running total in forfeitures over $69 million.
Several of those who have already reached plea agreements remain to be sentenced in the weeks ahead, including two more with prominent poker connections, Abe Mosseri and John Jarecki (a/k/a “John Hanson”). Two others among the case’s 34 defendants are poker players Bill Edler and Peter “Nordberg” Feldman, who reached deferred -prosecution deals in recent weeks for their minor roles as baseball-related sportsbetting sharps in connection with the Nahmad-Trincher group’s operations.
Since the overall group’s controlling figure, the alleged Russian mobster Tokhtakhounov, is unlikely to ever be brought to trial in the case, that leaves only two other defendants still in the deal-making, possibly pre-trial stage. One is the interesting case of Peter Skyllas, the high-stakes NYC gambler known as “Pete the Plumber,” who was charged with only a single count of money-laundering conspiracy, but who also figures as a victim in the case, since part ownership in his multimillion NYC plumbing business was forcibly extracted by the group as payment for his gambling debts to the ring.
The other remaining defendant, Joseph Mancuso, faced only two relatively minor counts connected to the operation of the ultra-high-stakes, invite-only poker games in Vadim Trincher’s Trump Towers apartment, which also figured into the case. Defendants similar to Mancuso, including “Poker Princess” Molly Bloom, received probation and fines.
All told, it means that with the handful of remaining sentences to be issued, the overall Taiwanchik-Trincher case is winding down. The nearly $70 million in forfeitures comes without a single trial in the case, itself a testimony to the massive amount of evidence, including testimony and wiretaps, that prosecutors and investigators assembled in connection to the case.