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Howard Stutz

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Chad Elie, convicted in Internet poker scheme, sues lawyer

16 Apr 2013

By Howard Stutz
LAS VEGAS -- The only Las Vegas resident charged in the federal government’s two-year-old “Black Friday” crackdown on Internet poker is suing his former attorney.

Chad Elie, who is serving time in federal prison, said in a 22-page lawsuit filed in Clark County District Court that his former lawyer committed “professional malpractice” by misleading him about the legalities of processing poker business.

Elie was sentenced to five months in federal prison after pleading guilty last year to charges of conspiring to commit bank fraud and operating an illegal gambling business.

Elie reportedly helped facilitate payments between poker players on PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker and Utah-based Sun First Bank.

He claimed in the lawsuit that he paid his attorney, Washington D.C.-based Jeff Ifrah, $4 million, including $1 million in commission payments from Elie’s payment processing company.

Elie is seeking damages of more than $50,000 in the lawsuit but hopes to recover an “exact amount of which will be determined at trial.”

After accepting his plea deal, Elie went public on his belief that he was a scapegoat in the Internet poker crackdown. He became vocal on Twitter, writing under the handle BlackFridayChad.

Many of his pointed comments were directed at professional poker player Howard Lederer, a founder of Full Tilt Poker, who settled a civil action with federal prosecutors last year.

In his lawsuit, Elie said Ifrah also was working for PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.

The lawsuit, which landed in front of District Judge Timothy Williams, claimed the attorney gave Elie “wrong advice regarding poker processing” while hiding “critical documentation” from his client.

Ifrah could not be located for comment.

Elie was one of 11 people named in the “Black Friday” indictment, which shut down U.S. player access to the websites for PokerStars and Full Tilt. He is in federal prison and reportedly will be released in June.

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