Ray Bitar was again before a judge on Friday prepared to meet the conditions of bail that were set earlier in the week, but prosecutors filed an appeal in an attempt to keep the Full Tilt CEO behind bars until trial.
Based on the severity of the allegations and the potential of Bitar to attempt to flee prosecution, the government believes that its in the best interests of justice that one of the poker community’s most hated men remains incarcerated, it was reported by Diamond Flush Poker.
Bond was set at $2.4 million on Monday by Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman, with $1 million of that to be posted in cash. In appearing before Judge Paul Engelmayer on Friday, attorneys for Bitar were prepared to post the bail. But prosecutors countered with a memorandum in support of pretrial detention that spelled out several reasons why Bitar should remain behind bars.
Among the reasons cited by federal prosecutors are: Bitar often traveled from Ireland to the U.S. and was scheduled to do so in early 2011 but apparently knew the Black Friday indictments were coming and cancelled his trip; he continued perpetrating the “ponzi scheme” even after the April 15 indictment; he collected a salary of $2 million from Black Friday until his surrender; and that the new charges against him unsealed in the superseding indictment carry what would amount to be a lifetime behind bars if convicted.
In addition, it was revealed that Bitar has an offshore account with over $24 million that he attempted to withdraw from. Access was denied and it is not entirely clear why at this time because the U.S. government had not previously tried to seize that account. But prosecutors pointed out that Bitar could indeed be considered a flight risk were he able to obtain the funds from that hefty account in a foreign bank.
Upon hearing the arguments put forth by prosecutors, as well as attorneys for Bitar as to why he should be released, Judge Engelmayer seemingly did not fully agree that detaining Bitar until trial was what Judge Freeman had in mind by setting bail conditions earlier in the week. Nonetheless, Engelmayer agreed to stay the bail until the motion for pretrial detention could be heard by Judge Kaplan probably sometime this week. So Bitar remains locked up until Judge Freeman rules on the matter.
My guess is that the motion for pretrial detention filed by prosecutors will be denied and Bitar will post bond and be released. Despite the allegations in the superseding indictment carrying 145 years in prison if convicted on all charges, defendants are typically not denied bail when charged with non-violent crimes.