From post-high school wanderer to frat bro of Scott Tom,high-ranking officer in the Absolute Poker offices turnedindicted fugitive, Brent Beckley’s is a story of how he came to help run one of online poker’s most notorious sites.
Beckley is one of the very few who saw the inside of a prison, minimum-security but prison nonetheless, for his involvement in pre-Black Friday off-shore online poker.
Brent Beckley woke up at 4 a.m. on October 1, 2012, and kissed his two young boys goodbye while they slept. He pulled on some jeans, comfortable shoes and a sweater. His wife bawled as Beckley stepped out of their home in Highland, Utah, about an hour south of Salt Lake City.
They had been preparing for this day for a long time. It felt like preparing to die.
Beckley followed Scott Tom first to college, then into a frat and finally to Costa Rica to turn the fledgling AP into the 3rd largest online site on the planet only to see it crash down around him. On the cusp of going public and potentially becoming billionaires, Absolute Poker got caught in the middle of the government’s war on internet gambling.
The article on MontanaKaiman.com doesn’t address anything like segregation of funds, cheating scandals or the failure of AP to pay back its players, mostly on the journey of the man who considers himself the sole fallguy for the entire industry.
Beckley found himself in a room of the Intercontinental in San Jose with 20 lawyers. He explained to them what payment processing really was. He had to shut down the business, layoff 350 employees and pay them their severances. On December 17, 2011, Beckley sent his wife and two boys to live with family in Utah.
Beckley was charged with five felonies — three related to the UIGEA violation, the other two were for money laundering and bank fraud.
Beckley, taking a plea deal for reduced charges, and spent nine months in lockup.
“There were a lot of people, not just in our company, but in the industry that made a fortune. And walked away, and are still living the dream, so to speak. I felt like I didn’t only take it on the chin for our company, and my friends, but I took it on the chin for the whole industry, and our customers.”