The Persecution of Jack Bates, Part 4: Asking Him (Almost) Anything

The Persecution of Jack Bates, Part 4: Asking Him (Almost) Anything

(Author’s note: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5 of this series are available through these links.)

What happens when an unrelenting, antagonistic, self-described “investigator” shows up in an AMA “Ask Me Anything” thread and begins a personal onslaught?  As happened to early Excapsa (UltimateBet) programmer Jack Bates recently, that circumstance took place when Bates took to the Reddit discussion forums to discuss freely some of the technical aspects of the work from his brief UB days.

excapsaBates’ Reddit thread has topped out at around 234 posts, of which the self-described “investigator” mentioned above, K. Scott Bell, accounted for at least 10 of them, largely accusatory in nature and without legitimate reason.  Remember, Bell, knowingly and falsely had previously promised Bates that he would be described as a collaborator in an imaginary blackmail scheme unless he agreed to provide info to Bell:

ScreenHunter_16 Mar. 24 21.40

I don’t view that as being a “bad cop,” as Bell later portrayed it.  I consider it libelous and defamatory.

So what should Bates have done in response?  One thing was to ask this author to stop by the Reddit thread to debunk some of Bell’s ridiculous assertions, as posted by Bell under his “trioxcompound” handle.  Here’s the meat of that exchange:

[–]trioxcompound

Well, long and didn’t really answer the main question. Carolyn [Heick] worked directly for Greg Pierson for several years and then after UIGEA, she went to work directly for Russ Hamilton in Las Vegas, working in an office right next to his. When he came in with a list of screenname changes for cheating accounts AFTER IT WAS NO LONGER HER JOB RESPONSIBILITY AT ULTIMATEBET, isn’t it more likely that she had full knowledge of what was occurring and you really have no way of knowing? Let’s say that again, it was not her job during 2007 to make screenname changes at UltimateBet, so when Mr. Hamilton brought her a list of cheaters to change, what exactly was his and her explanation? That people in Costa Rica were not competent to make those changes???

Wouldn’t someone involved with the scandal and working directly for Mr. Hamilton say exactly what you said she did? Moreover, aren’t you really just fabricating a lot of the stuff that was said about you and the “hounding” you took? Most don’t seem to care much about you or your role and your thread was instantly deleted from 2p2 likely due to relevance.

Why are you now popping your head up to tell all after it is too late to do anything about it? I mean, its awesome you gave your story to somebody who apparently wasn’t willing to do anything with it when it could help players. I guess your no-brainer choice of the four was somehow less than optimal assuming you care about the cheated players, which you clearly don’t.

[–]TiltedPlacitan

You have an opinion that I don’t care about the players. I don’t think that there is anything I can do to convince you otherwise, but let’s stick with the facts:

The players, when a lawsuit was finally filed, decided to attempt to implicate me, when the much more productive course of action would have been to just file the suit and simply depose me. EDIT: I really wonder about how that came to be.

When this went down, I contacted my family’s lawyer in Santa Ana, CA about representing me. We had an initial consultation. I discussed this situation with him, and I specifically stated to him that I’d like to help out the players. I also spoke to a lawyer acquaintance and a district court judge here in New Mexico about the situation. Do you know what all of these lawyers unanimously told me?

“Do not engage. Wait to be deposed. Appear with qualified and informed representation.” …and that’s pretty good advice. EDIT: especially when engaging would have required me to pay a $5,000 retainer.

I have been specifically ignoring that advice lately. I’m sorry that my information is being made public too late for a criminal trial, that was not my intent. I honestly thought that the cheating continued into 2008.

EDIT: The fact that I still have not been deposed says more about other people’s motivations than my unwillingness to engage against legal advice.

Even though it appears to be going nowhere, It is not too late for the RICO case to proceed. It seems very likely that there are personal assets of the people who actually were involved with this that are worth going after.

If Mr. Engle wants a very cooperative witness, all he has to do is refile the complaint with my name removed and engage the press to clear my name. I think that he can do that in less than two billable hours time, or even go Pro Bono.

So don’t tell me I don’t care. It’s just not the facts.

[–]trioxcompound

Yes, lets go with facts. Mr. Engle is not a specialized attorney, but did represent 8-9 total players out of over 1506 who received refunds. The true number of cheated players is actually unknown. AFAIK, Mr. Engle is no longer pursuing the action in question and did not appear to press his claim much further than asking for a quick settlement. In speaking with a firm that specializes in Civil RICO cases (Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer) it was concluded that back in 2010 it may have been possible to litigate on behalf of players if people like yourself and Travis Makar (both claiming undue “hounding”) had stepped up and offered complete assistance. Today, the opinion is that it would be too difficult to toll the case (reach back to the beginning) even with proper evidence on a contingency basis. The firm would take a case on a retainer basis but players are not likely to chase that river given it could be a lot of money with no clear victory.

As to criminal charges, next time you are doing lines of peruvian flake and samuel l jackson busts in and steals your cocaine, attempt to swear out a criminal complaint and let us know how it goes. Again, with a significant trove of evidentiary materials from someone such as Makar or yourself, the FBI might have taken an active interest. Without, they took the referrals and apparently shitcanned them.

The real fact is that this is now a case of understanding the truth so that the bad guys don’t come back. Your view is that several of the co-conspirators do not deserve the label of bad guy, but you have not presented a strong case and they aren’t talking. Perhaps if Heick, Kirkowski, Bartleson, and a whole list of ieLogic engineering personnel were willing to stand up and tell their story, we might finally understand what really happened at UltimateBet. As it stands, all of the involved actors including Hamilton and Pierson are involved in new initiatives likely to affect online poker for years to come.

btw, when you called Mr. Engle and asked him directly to remove your name, what did he say?

[–]TiltedPlacitan

Call Mr. Engle directly? Why would I do that? That’s ridiculous. EDIT: the only way I could read his brief was within the context of him wanting to sue me.

I going to say this again: I was acting under advice of three attorneys.

[–]TiltedPlacitan

So the remaining 1490+ players certainly could have filed their own suit, that didn’t use my name with reckless disregard, and we’d probably be in a different place.

Not a single one of them did? Why is that?

So, you are saying that my proper course of action would have been to step forward, without any written evidence, acting on a lot of hearsay, and stick my neck out such that I get sued for slander or libel because I can’t back up my assertions.

I’m happy to do that in court, where my attorney tells me that I am protected from civil liability when telling the truth. Not taking precautions could bankrupt me. That is a risk that I was unwilling to take without the cover of a court case.

Good day.

[–]trioxcompound

I truly apologize. I mistook what you have been saying as true. You didn’t say originally that your assertions were hearsay that could not be backed up. I thought the items you stated on PFR were eyewitness accounts of actual events.

[–]TiltedPlacitan

It would have been hearsay for me to use the names that appeared on the email that was recently redacted.

…and that’s the real meat of the case. Who did it?

EDIT: the fact of the matter is this: 2+2 knew who did it. Yet no one filed a legitimate lawsuit.

EDIT: and my account had been relayed to a trusted third party… whom no one contacted in regards to filing a lawsuit.

EDIT: it is a simple fact that a lot of what I know about this situation came from me having discussions with people post august 2008.

[–]trioxcompound

Ahhh, ok. So to be clear. You did sit in meetings where it was discussed that a tool would be built that could see live holecards and the two engineers responsible for overseeing and creating this tool are Daniel P Cunningham and Jason Dehaan? And that upon hearing about the creation of such a tool, at least some engineers (including yourself) privately discussed such a tool was unneccessary for normal fraud discovery and could ultimately be used for miscreant behavior? And finally, such a tool was created while you were still employed at the site and with the KGC report stating cheating occurred beginning in the summer of 2003, you were an employee there for at least some part of the time the tool was used for miscreant behavior? And of course, we can also say concretely that the description and later evidence presented in the case would reinforce that the tool was used for several years unimpeded, to take an amount that was at least $23M and could be higher if as Mr. Makar suggests, all cheating accounts were never revealed?

[–]TiltedPlacitan

I’m sure you’ll run that in your film.

The tool was created by other people, over my objection, reportedly at the behest of Russ Hamilton, who indicated it was necessary to investigate fraud. I was not involved in its design, creation, installation, maintenance, or use. Management brushed aside any concerns.

After a scandal involving this tool, the scale of which was shocking to me, I gave a full accounting of my knowledge of the situation to a well-known journalist and asked her to be on the lookout for a lawsuit to be filed.

[–]haley_hintze

I’m not going to engage Bell here because that’s about as useful as banging one’s head into a brick wall, but I will verify everything that Jack has said in this thread.

And I’ll add to it: Jack allowed me to send a complete transcript of the interview we did to FBI/DOJ agents who have investigated the case. I’ve talked to the FBI and DOJ several times, and they’ve had that information for quite some time, along with other information that absolutely proves not only UB’s online fraud, but that the company was run for years out of the US (Portland). Jack has also asked me to keep Mike Brunker in the loop, and Mike and I have talked and e-mailed on many occasions over the last 3 or 4 years.

I’m quite curious to see how libelous Bell’s final product will be, which is one of several reasons I’ve been waiting, though the largest block was probably waiting to see what Travis would do. As someone who’s also been libeled by Bell — and even accused of participating in one of his ridiculous blackmail-scheme theories — I can only assume that his final product will be one of those works of “dramatic fiction loosely based on the facts”.

I will absolutely be right there to help anyone and everyone who ends up being unjustly damaged by Bell’s actions, as Jack most certainly has been.

[–]trioxcompound

You have used the words libel, defamation and slander quite freely. I ask politely for you to identify any item I have either factually wrong or where there is not legitimate reason to arrive at the conclusions we have reached and I will gladly note them and make corrections to the film. I have asked you this on multiple occasions and you respond with profanity and bile. Please help us to make a better film by telling us where we have it wrong. Otherwise I will dismiss your threats of lawsuit as idle and based on professional jealousy. It strikes me as ironic that Ben Mezrich’s book on the case will probably be the one more factually correct.

[–]TiltedPlacitan

I had forgotten that I asked you to send that to the FBI, Haley.

Thanks. Be well.

One other post from a separate part of Bates’ Reddit thread helps fill in some of the blanks present in the text above.  Use at as a reference:

[–]TiltedPlacitan

Warning: long.

After leaving ieLogic, I did not speak to Carolyn until this scandal broke. We worked together very closely for a while. I thought she might be upset with me for leaving her hanging.

Yes, I am willing to go on public record and state that I do not believe that Carolyn was involved in cheating. Carolyn was a VIP service representative. In this position, she was commonly asked to move around lots of money. I am also of the opinion that a lot of corporate accounts payable type activity was handled through transfers on the site. In such an environment, I believe that it would be very easy to not notice a subchannel of fishy behavior. Changing screen names was not against policy at UltimateBet, and was something you could ask customer service to do.

Members of the poker community have stated that ieSnare should have caught this scandal early. I’d like people to think about the words “association tarpit”. When running the early versions of ieSnare’s analysis tools, if it came across anyone associated with the project, then every pro, manager and employee was quickly dragged into the net. For example, If Russ came up in a search, my name would also come up within a hop or two of the (somewhat naive) analysis algorithm.

So, ieSnare was a tool that was specifically designed to root out EXTERNAL fraud. Its capabilities with internal fraud were very weak. The associated accounts and computers would simply mushroom to a point of unusability. In the early version of the toolset, we would simply stop analysis at the depth at which an explosion of association occurred. I would expect that the algorithm was improved after my departure.

Well, when Carolyn and I got back in touch, we were able to commiserate about how we’d both been hounded by the poker community, and the hate mail, rude crank calls and totally unfair forum posts we’d endured. If the poker community wanted information, they sure chose vinegar over honey.

Personally, I’ve been harassed, and at various times accused of the following: a) having been involved in cheating, b) having written the software that facilitated cheating, and c) having been involved in an extortion scam to keep my mouth shut. Well, none of that happened. Unfortunately, I have no way to prove any of this. One thing is for sure though – the 2+2 forums are not the proper venue to redress the grievances of the victims of this crime.

During my dialog with Carolyn, we decided to be choosy about who we would give our story to. There were basically four options: 1) call 60 minutes, 2) Mike Brunker of MSNBC, who had contacted me, but respected my right to peace, 3) Scott Bell (who has threatened to publish material about me that I believe he knew to be inaccurate in an effort to cajole me into cooperating with him), or 4) Haley Hintze (a known poker journalist with good references in the community).

The choice of the lady with references was pretty easy. Carolyn and I have given everything we know to Haley.

Now, the paranoid asshole set will inevitably use their Dollar Store Jump To Conclusions Mat to “determine” that we are colluding to cleanse the narrative. It’s taken me years, but I’ve come to grip with the fact that some people simply will not be satisfied. …so if that’s what you think, you’re wrong.

Over the course of a few years, I’ve had a long email conversation with Haley. At one point, I finally agreed to give a taped interview. This interview took over 2.5 hours, and was extremely thorough. This happened about a year ago, shortly after some asshole lawyer decided to use my name in his $25M lawsuit. The following fact should interest the reader: Suing for libel in regards to the contents of a court filing is exceptionally difficult.

There is a website that reported on the lawsuit being filed. They used the words “…clearly implicates…Jack Bates.” I am reserving my right until the statue of limitations expires to sue the author and distributor of this work. I hope that there is a resurgence of poker journalism so that there will be actual funds to go after.

I am willing to accept very public apologies for having used my name in an inaccurate manner.

OK, that was long. Hope you find it informative.

Everything that Bates wrote, and that I wrote in my one brief post to the thread, was true.  Bates did an interview of approximately 2:40 with me, last year, in direct response to the ridiculous blackmail threats lodged against him and others by Bell.

Not only has Jack Bates been a source for me about certain technical aspects of the UB cheating, he’s actually been quite open about it, unlike other sources of mine whose privacy I still protect.  (Bates even publicly “friended” me on Facebook and Twitter just to spite Bell, which was well worth the inside chuckle.)

And all this from a guy, meaning Jack Bates, who values his private life immensely and feels like he’s been besieged by these ongoing false accusations, which have continued for three years and which Bates alleges have now cost him employment opportunities.  Bates wouldn’t even have talked with me in the first place had it not been for Bell’s initial, ridiculous threats, and I say that with the knowledge of having come to know and understand Jack in the last couple of years.

As for the stuff about my Bates interview being forwarded to the FBI, that’s totally true as well.  I have had occasional discussions with FBI and DOJ agents in connection with the AP and UB scandals, and after completing the interviewing and reviewing the entirety of Bell’s threats, we jointly decided that forwarding the complete transcript of the interview, plus the original recordings, was desirable.

This was done both with the knowledge of Bell’s willfullly false blackmail allegations, and the fact that when forwarded, the info presented therein was still within what we generally perceived as a five-year statute of limitations regarding the UB cheating.  Bates and I, we really tried to get that info into the legal system, but I wholly support Bates’ decision not to go groveling to a lawyer and a supposed documentary who damaged his public name in their own pursuit of profit and fame..

We’ll wrap this series up in the next post, with a few additional thoughts.

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