Professional poker players Gal Yifrach and Nick Shkolnik are facing a long stretch behind bars for running an illegal gambling operation and money laundering.
The pair are facing felony charges for offences that include the unlicensed supply, operation and maintenance of video poker terminals and slot machines as well as different ways of exchanging the cash from the illegal business.
A statement from the Department of Justice included:
“The indictment charges Los Angeles residents Gal Yifrach, 35, with operating an illegal gambling business and conspiracy to commit money laundering; Nick Shkolnik, 39, with operating an illegal gambling business; and Shalom Ifrah, 32, and Schneur Zalman Getzel Rosenfeld, 33, with conspiracy to commit money laundering.”
The authorities have detailed what appears to be a sophisticated operation. Investigators intercepted communications from the alleged conspirators and were able to uncover in great detail how the scheme took place over a four-year period.
The Department of Justice claims that Yifrach took cash from the illegal machines and exchanged it for chips from a casino in Bell Gardens, California. These chips were then converted into cheques which could be paid directly into his bank account.
“Yifrach and Ifrah conspired to launder the proceeds of the illegal gambling business in multiple ways, including by exchanging the cash for checks, exchanging the cash for casino chips, and conducting cash exchanges of no more than $10,000 at banks to avoid transaction reporting requirements.” If convicted, Yifrach could face five years in prison for running the illegal gambling operation and a further 20 for money laundering.
“If convicted, Yifrach and Shkolnik each face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conducting an illegal gambling business. In addition, Yifrach, Ifrah, and Rosenfeld each face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, or twice the value of the monetary instrument or funds involved, whichever is greater, for conspiracy to commit money laundering.“
Who Are Gal Yifrach and Nick Shkolnik?
Gal Yifrach is best known for winning a gold bracelet at the 2018 World Series of Poker and a WSOPC ring in 2017. Over the last decade he has won more than $2 million in live poker tournaments, including a $495,305 cash in a $50,000 WSOP HIgh Roller last year.
Nick Shkolnik is also an accomplished player. More than $1 million in live tournament earnings and a WSOPC ring of his own.
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