Feds Provide 140k Pages of Evidence Against Poker Player Charged w/ Illegal Gambling & Money Laundering
The feds have put together 142,689 pages of evidence against high-stakes poker player Gal Yifrach, who was charged with running an illegal gambling operation nearly two years ago.
Earlier this month, in the United States Court Eastern District of California, attorneys for both parties agreed to move the Jan. 8 status conference to March 4 so that defense attorneys can "familiarize themselves with the case and review voluminous discovery, discuss the case with their respective clients and the attorney for the United States, and otherwise prepare for trial," according to court documents.
The court initially ruled Yifrach, a 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, a flight risk in 2022 following his arrest. As such, he was ordered to be detained while awaiting trial, but has since been bonded out.
Preparing for a Mountain of Evidence
Yifrach, who has over $2.2 million in live tournament cashes, was charged in March 2022 with one count of conducting an illegal gambling business and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He allegedly operated illegal slot machines and then used the money from that venture to invest in real estate and other purchases.
According to a recent court filing, the feds believe they have a mountain of evidence against the Los Angeles poker player more than 140,000 pages worth of transcribed documents and recordings. The government has also provided additional materials in discovery, including a number of electronic devices (phones, laptops, etc.) seized during the investigation.
In response to receiving thousands of pages worth of discovery in regards to the case against Yifrach and his co-defendants, defense attorneys requested additional time to familiarize themselves with the evidence.
"Counsel for the defendants believes that failure to grant the above-requested continuance would deny them the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation, taking into account the exercise of due diligence; and, their respective litigation commitments," the document reads, to which the government does not object.
Gal Yifrach Charged with Illegal Gambling
Allegations Against Poker Player
According to the indictment, beginning around January 2018 until January 2022, the poker pro conducted an illegal gambling business involving "supplying, operating, and maintaining video slot machines and devices."
"They would exchange cash proceeds of an illegal gambling business for other items of value to conceal the fact their income was derived from operating an illegal gambling business."
The money laundering accusation part of the indictment involved taking the cash from the illegal casino and exchanging it for clean money, the feds say. As stated in the indictment, he then used those funds to invest in real estate and make other purchases.
Authorities claim Yifrach laundered money in a few different ways. One was to exchange the alleged illegal gambling revenue for casino chips at a "casino in Bell Gardens, California," referred to in the document as "Casino 1." He would then, the feds say, take those casino chips to the casino and exchange them for checks, which he would deposit into his bank account.
According to the indictment, Yifrach, who previously apeared multiple times on Live at the Bike and Hustler Casino Live, collected the cash proceeds of an "illegal gambling business from various locations in the Eastern District of California and elsewhere, and transported those cash proceeds to other locations in California."
Yifrach and co-defendant Shalom Ifrah "used, and agreed to use, multiple methods to exchange cash proceeds of an illegal gambling business for other items of value to conceal the fact their income was derived from operating an illegal gambling business," the document states.
In Section 17, the indictment states that Yifrach and Ifrah "frequently sent electronic messages to each other to coordinate the transactions." The feds had been tipped off about an alleged illegal gambling business involving the poker pro, so they began monitoring his cell phone communications.
The indictment mentions a few examples of alleged criminal activities, including one instance where Yifrach and Ifrah discussed via text messaging taking money from Yifrach's safe "in order to give a total of $150,000 to an individual in exchange for casino chips from CASINO 1." That incident allegedly took place between October 24 and 27, 2018.
On January 8, 2020, so says the court document, Yifrach told Ifrah by electronic messaging that they needed to "consult with someone about cleansing the cash" and Ifrah responded by informing his co-defendant that "it would be best to continue registering as an employee of a company and giving checks for cash."
If convicted, Yifrach faces up to five years in prison for the illegal gambling charge and up to 20 years for the conspiracy to commit money laundering charge. He is scheduled for a March 4 status conference ahead of his upcoming trial.
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