The Australian computer whiz who turned supergrass and helped shut down online poker in the US is hoping to avoid jail time.
Daniel Tzvetkoff appeared to have it all – a $27 million mansion on Queensland’s Gold Coast, exotic sports cars, his own V8 Supercar racing team, a beautiful wife, young son and personal fortune estimated at $82 million.
The computer software genius achieved it in his 20s.
On Wednesday, in a Manhattan courtroom, Tzvetkoff, now 31, will ask for his freedom.
Back in 2010, when FBI and Department of Homeland Security officers slapped handcuffs on Tzvetkoff in a Las Vegas casino, he faced a 75-year sentence in the US federal prison system for bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business.
But in what would be no surprise to people who know him, he may walk out of the New York court on Wednesday (Thursday AEST) a free man.
“The defence respectfully submits that a sentence of time served is sufficient,” Tzvetkoff’s Boston-based lawyer, Robert Goldstein, wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
Tzvetkoff sat in North Las Vegas Detention Center and then Brooklyn’s infamous Metropolitan Detention Center for a little over four months in 2010 before, suddenly, he disappeared.
It was later confirmed he had become a US government informant and was living in safe houses with his wife, son and their newborn daughter, and eventually was cleared to return to Australia.
He handed over more than 90,000 emails and documents to US prosecutors and a year after his arrest, the US Department of Justice struck in what the online poker community dubbed Black Friday.
The American operations of three of the world’s biggest online gambling companies, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker, were shut down and its executives charged.
Six co-conspirators have been sentenced to prison, with terms ranging from three to 36 months.
A probation report recommends Tzvetkoff serve between six and 12 months’ jail.
Tzvetkoff’s involvement came through his Queensland online processing company, Intabill, which illegally processed more than $US1 billion in US transactions for PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.
The companies accused Tzvetkoff of skimming $US100 million from them.
Today, Tzvetkoff has a job as chief technical officer at “a respectable organisation” in Australia and hopes to get on with his life.