Taiwanchik-Trincher Gambling Plea Deal #24: ‘Poker Princess’ Molly Bloom
More defendant-shaped domino continue to fall in the Southern District of New York’s wide-sweeping indictments against a New York-based sportsbetting and gambling ring with prominent ties to an important Russian mobster. The latest defendant in the case of US v Tokhtakhounov, et. al. to accept a plea deal is poker-game organizer Molly Bloom, who operated high-stakes poker gatherings on both coasts under the oversight of the gambling ring’s operators. The West Coast games run by Bloom featured an A-list of participants, including film and TV stars, Hollywood and other business execs, and well-heeled playboys.
Bloom becomes the 24th defendant in the case to plead out. Thirty-three of 34 defendants in the case have been arraigned, excepting only the group’s alleged ringleader, Alimzhan “Taiwanchik” Tokhtakhounov, who remains in Russia, with no extradition threat.
The New York City games operated by Bloom included the nosebleed gatherings at Vadim Trincher’s $6 million Trump Towers apartment, which included veteran high-stakes grinders and prominent East Coast businessmen. Trincher and Tokhtakhounov were alleged to be in control of the largest ring within the overall gambling operation, dubbed the Taiwanchik-Trincher group.
Bloom’s famed Hollywood home games were also operated under the direct protection of Tokhtakhounov, who was known as “Akim” to some of the game’s participants. Those high-stakes Hollywood games first fell under the media spotlight in 2011, when one of the game’s participants, convicted fraudster Bradley Ruderman, was discovered to have lost over $5 million of his swindled clients’ money in Bloom’s games.
Attorneys for Ruderman’s victims launched “clawback” lawsuits at many of the games’ celebrity participants, including Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gabe Kaplan, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and others. Bloom herself was sued for $473,000 as part of that case. Many of the civil defendants settled for undisclosed amounts rather than appear in court; it is not known whether Bloom was among them. Bloom relocated to the East Coast to help operate the Trincher games after the collapse of the Hollywood poker gatherings.
Bloom, the sister of former Olympic skier and NFL football player Jeremy Bloom, was dubbed the “Poker Princess” in mainstream media reports following the publicity of the Ruderman case. She appeared in federal court in Manhattan on Thursday to enter her plea on what was believed to be a single count of operating a poker business. (A second charge, a Travel Act violation, was believed to be dropped as part of the deal, but cannot be confirmed until the DOJ’s Southern District of New York issues an expected press release on the deal sometime early this week.)
Bloom reportedly forfeited $125,000 as part of the deal, and is expected to be sentenced to a maximum of six months in late April of 2014. It is possible that Bloom will receive probation only. Bloom faced a possible maximum term of five years, plus two more years of supervised release. She was the only female defendant among the 34 indicted in the case.