Ira Rubin, indicted Internet figure nabbed in Guatemala

Jun 13, 2011 9:00 PM

A key figure in the recent federal crackdown on Internet gambling has been arrested and is being held without bail in New York City.

Ira Rubin, 52, was arrested in Guatemala prior to moving to Thailand where he reportedly was buying a home. He is alleged to have moved billions of dollars from U.S. customers involved in illegal gambling while living in Costa Rica.

He was among the 11 people indicted in April when federal prosecutors shut down the online poker sites of PokerStars, Fult Tilt and Absolute. Charges against Rubin include conspiracy, violation of unlawful Internet gambling and operation of an illegal gambling business. Conviction could result in as much as 85 years in prison, say prosecutors.

Officials said Rubin has a criminal history dating back to the 1970’s. He once had an $8 million Federal Trade Commission judgment against him because of a payment processing business he operated from 2003 to 2006 that was tied to telemarketing fraud, according to the Association Press.

A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said that Rubin created dozens of shell companies for online poker companies, making websites that appeared to be for golf stores, electronic companies in other businesses so that banks would not realize that money from gambling was being sent through their accounts. He said Rubin processed hundreds of millions of dollars, a portion of the $3 billion the government estimates the poker companies moved illegally.

The prosecutor said that Rubin fled to Costa Rica while being wanted by authorities in New York and Las Vegas, where he was accused of writing bad checks.