Disgraced Full Tilt CEO Ray Bitar will be able to return home to California ahead of his forthcoming trial after a federal judge signed off on an increased bail package.
Bitar has been in jail since last Monday, when he handed himself into US authorities to face charges contained with last April’s Black Friday indictments. Having been charged in a superseding indictment of defrauding Full Tilt players, the prosecution filed a motion in support of Bitar’s pre-trial detention, arguing the more serious charges within this indictment and his access to overseas funds made him a flight risk. Bitar pleaded not guilty on his arraignment last week to all gambling, money laundering and fraud offences.
However, Judge Paul Engelmayer ruled last night that Bitar could be freed on US$2.5m bond secured by US$2m in cash or property, plus electronic home monitoring and surrender of all travel documents.
Bitar also has to remain in New York City for 48 hours, during which time he must disclose all of his assets held in the US and abroad. He must also prove the US$1m value of a San Dimas warehouse he is using to secure a portion of the bail. Forbes reported that five people close to the 40-year-old California resident, both family and friends, are backing his bail commitments and so will be liable if he fails to keep to the bail conditions.
The DoJ alleged in Friday’s pretrial detention motion that Bitar had attempted earlier this year to access more than US$24m in a bank account in his name that had not been listed in the Black Friday indictment or restraining order, of which the government had not previously been aware.
Full Tilt director and co-founder Howard Lederer also yesterday filed a motion to dismiss the US government complaint against him seeking US$42m in civil money laundering penalties. The motion states that “specific factual allegations” against Lederer in relation to the charge of his alleged defrauding and conspiring to defraud FTP players “are nowhere to be found.” The document also dismisses the claim that Full Tilt could be classified as an illegal gambling business as defined by the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA).