It turns out that being an astute poker pro is not enough to keep you from mixing up with the wrong crowd. Australia’s infamous former poker professional, Bill Jordanou, has been handed a solid sentence, which will see him sent to prison for 9 years. Jordanou has brought this on himself by participating in a scheme that saw a number of individuals cleared out of $53 million.
Not the Deed of a Single Man
The act itself didn’t take much to set-up, but it definitely involved associates. Jordanou had to rely on Robert Zaia who helped him find a way to empty bank accounts through the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and kept a separate account with $20 million for him. However, the question remains whether all culprits have been brought to justice, and the most likely answer is that someone’s still eluding the law.
According to the official ruling, the pair may have had inside help, but no such person has been discovered. Even then, the bank allegedly knew about the activities as early as 2007, but failed to step up its security and initiate checks.
Jordanou as much of a con artist he is, pleaded guilty to all counts of conspiracy to commit fraud. He made a clean chest out of it by saying that he had been forging documents in order to be able to withdraw loans. With the newly-acquired proceedings, Jordanou used the bulk to develop a property whereas another amount was allocated to a private bank account controlled by Zaia.
More strikingly, the pair have been able to withdraw money from individuals’ bank accounts unauthorized. Jordanou didn’t stop with CBA, though, as he continued to play his cards well and swindled money out of the Bank of Queensland, Westpac, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, and others.
Apart from being a skilled con artist, he also had a flair for Las Vegas, Macau and other gambling hotbeds which he frequented. His spending habits also became thrifty, buying high-quality goods and vehicles.
Clean Breast Maybe – No Leniency
Even though Jordanou finally decided to plead guilty, he was not treated lightly. The sitting judge lambasted him openly for having wasted the court’s time at a previous cross-examination session.
Glossing over the moral dimensions of what he had done, the judge sentenced the former professional to 12 years behind bars of which 9 are mandatory. Jordanou has already spent 200 days in detention awaiting his trial, so they will be subtracted from his sentence. Meanwhile, Zaia awaits his own sentence.
Jordanou’s case has not been that of the first poker professional to end up at loggerheads with the law or to cross a line. Most recently, another ex-con and former poker player was deprived from his winnings after the British Government had decided that he had failed to pay back the victims of a fraud scheme he had been running prior to going to prison.
Does this mean that poker attracts people who are pre-disposed to criminal activity? Hardly unlikely, but perhaps being so good with numbers and odds sometimes pushes people to colour outside the lines.