It seems not too long ago that online poker dominated the gambling world. Then it happened: “Black Friday,” the name online poker players gave April 15, 2011. This is the day that the United States Department of Justice began shutting down the popular poker sites. Elie vs. Ifrah: Online Poker and the Black Friday Backlash Chad Elie, who was sentenced to a five-month jail sentence after pleading guilty to one count of felony bank fraud stemming from the Black Friday indictments, filed a civil suit against attorney Jeff Ifrah, one of the better-known gaming law experts in the United States. Elie claimed that Ifrah gave “misleading advice to further his own pecuniary interests,” perpetuated a conflict of interest, and engaged in suspicious behavior. Elie claims to have controlled two companies, Elite Debit and 21 Debit, both of which served as payment processors for Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars. During this time, Ifrah served as Elie’s legal counsel. The plaintiff claims that Ifrah advised him that peer-to-peer poker fund processing was legal in the United States and even aided Elie in the facilitation of his services. What is even more disconcerting is Ifrah’s relationship with Full Tilt Poker and Pokerstars when he allegedly gave Elie the misleading advice. Ifrah served as counsel to the two online poker sites and had a vested interest in ensuring the seamless operation of each, creating a conflict of interest. These claims are at the base of Elie’s lawsuit.
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