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Black Friday defendant pleads guilty

29 February 2012

NEW YORK, New York -- A minor player in last year's federal crackdown on U.S. Internet poker pleaded guilty to money laundering, fraud, and gambling offenses Tuesday in federal court in New York .

Ryan Lang, 37, a Canadian who worked directly with senior executives from Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker, is facing 30 years in prison in connection with a scheme to deceive banks into processing hundreds of millions of dollars in Internet gambling transactions.

Lang was one of 11 individuals named in nine-count federal indictment unsealed last April in New York that shut down U.S. operations for three of the world's largest online poker companies. The founders and executives from the three companies were charged with bank fraud, money laundering and operating illegal gaming businesses.

Federal prosecutors also filed a civil lawsuit seeking $3 billion in money-laundering penalties from the websites and their operators.

To date, five additional minor players initially charged in the indictment have appeared in U.S. District Court to answer the charges; three have pleaded guilty. The other two defendants are scheduled to stand trial in April.

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