UltimateBet Fraud Firm Iovation Conditionally Recommended by NGC (Pt 2)

We’re returning here with Part 2 of FlushDraw’s update on the conditional approval by the Nevada Gaming Commission of Portland, Oregon-based iovation as a geolocation service provider for Nevada’s online-gambling operators.  Iovation, formerly known as ieLogic, was the long-time parent of fraudulent online-poker site UltimateBet, whose top-level executives stole tens of millions of dollars from the site’s poker players.

iovation-logoIn Part 1, we provided the smoking gun regarding the “God Mode” cheating tool and tied it directly to iovation president Greg Pierson, who remains a figure of considerable infamy within the gambling world.  We also explained how the primary cheater behind the UltimateBet scandal, former WSOP Main Event winner, Russ Hamilton, simply could not be the only person involved in the cheating and the perpetuation of the software that allowed it.

Since the Nevada Gaming Commission has been given plenty of hard evidence regarding iovation’s major players, it’s tine to pile on.  After all, the NGC is poised to fully affirm iovation as an approved service provider despite mountains of evidence that this is a firm that engaged in years of criminal behavior, and should be allowed nowhere near regulated online gambling nor the private information of online players.

When I was contacted by a low-level NGC employee in November about iovation’s past misdeeds, I was given a short list of the company’s key employees and a request for “smoking gun” information that would render then personally unsuitable — as if they could somehow be extricated from the company.  But what the NGC seemingly refuses to comprehend is that the company was fraudulent from the short, operating under a bogus corporate shield based in Toronto.

What was in Toronto, as far as UltimateBet was concerned?  A lawyer, a secretary, a dropbox, and a small customer-staff for a couple of years, before that was relocated to Costa Rica.  All the executive and ownership decisions, however, and all the programming, was done in Portland.  First in a small strip-mall business, and then as UltimateBet grew, on an entire upper floor of the downtown business tower widely known as Big Pink.

I previously sent the NGC employee testimonials and e-mails that showed the company’s day-to-day operations being run solely from Oregon, in clear violation of US federal law.  It was almost certainly an ongoing violation of Oregon state law as well.  I even sent the NGC a detailed database of the site’s first 65,000 player accounts, including hundreds of test accounts and hundreds more connected to the company’s executives and programmers.

The Toronto corporate shell was always a sham front.  For more than a decade, no one in the US has cared. One need not pore through a 65,000-record database to realize this.  When original UB shell entity Excapsa attempted to liquidate itself — in the Canadian court system, of course — the process nonetheless released plenty of documentation that showed the company was run from Portland, not Toronto.

Iovation vice president Molly O’Hearn, another of the company’s key employees, was also responsible for administering the ownership paperwork for the Excapsa/UB wing, and was one of the executors for Excapsa’s liquidation filings.  All ownership proxies went through her, and iovation.  Need proof?  Here’s just a sample header from one of the many proxies that went into and out of iovation via one of their fax machines,.

Here’s one to well-known poker pro and UB minority Ted Forrest:


I have the complete phone number and the original faxes for all of these proxies, and a sample of such was also sent to the NGC.  Molly O’Hearn wasn’t one of the poker cheaters, but this is a smoking gun as to her close, long-term involvement with illicit Excapsa/UB ownership matters.

Let’s move over to a different type of smoking gun.  Someone might play devil’s advocate and ask, “Wait, wasn’t UltimateBet a poker site?  Wasn’t online poker a gray area in the period before 2006 and the passage of the UIGEA?”

Well, yes and no.  UltimateBet accepted bets from players in all 50 US states, and at least 11 of them had explicit prohibition against this type of service during the time period iovation ran the UB show.  Also, UltimateBet did more than just offer poker, a peer-to-peer game.  Ultimate was also at least one part an illegal online casino, offering real-money blackjack to its customers, for the last couple years of its pre-UIGEA, part-of-iovation existence.  The blackjack offerings were built into the poker client, and they continued to offered post-UIGEA as well, when operation of the site was slowly transferred over to Absolute Poker.

Blackjack, you see, is a house-banked casino game, not a peer-to-peer contest.  Whether poker was legal or illegal in the jurisdictions UltimateBet served, online blackjack was surely illegal in most of them.  And all of that was programmed and banked in Portland, Oregon, as well.

Fast forward to 2016, and realize that this only the tip of the iceberg regarding the historical evidence of the involvement of iovation and its executive staff.  Does this really sound like the the type of the firm Nevada regulators should approve?  Isn’t the NGC supposed to be serving the public good?


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