Poker company founder freed on bail in NY case

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Associated Press

Posted on July 9, 2012 at 8:00 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 10 at 2:02 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — An Internet poker company founder has been released on bail after he surrendered in New York last week to face charges he operated his business like a Ponzi scheme.

Raymond Bitar (BIH'-tar) was freed on $2.5 million bond Monday after agreeing to post $2 million in property to ensure he returns to court when required.

Bitar flew from Ireland last week to face charges in a prosecution that shut down U.S. operations for the three largest Internet poker companies. He's the founder of Full Tilt Poker.

Prosecutors sought to have the Glendora, Calif., resident held without bail, saying new charges could carry a life sentence. They say he falsely told poker players their money would be safe but nearly $300 million owed to players worldwide is missing.

Bitar has pleaded not guilty. His lawyers say he's helping recover money.

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