A 36-year-old poker player Bryan Micon has pleaded guilty to illegally operating an unlicensed gaming website, his attorney Richard Schonfeld told on Thursday. The deal will help Micon to reduce felony charges to a gross misdemeanor and avoid jail time.
Micon was accused of illegally running the website, called Seals with Clubs, which accepted payments in the digital currency. He had been in charge of the gaming system between March 1, 2014, and February 9, 2015 without the required licenses.
Under the deal, Micon has to complete the probation time in the US and to pay a fine of $25,000. Besides, he will surrender all the electronic equipment, pay $900 in cash and 3.0996 bitcoins that were seized by Nevada gaming agents from his Las Vegas home during a raid in February.
After the raid, Micon and his family left the US and went to the Caribbean island of Antigua. But this week he returned to Nevada to face charges and was booked into the Clark County Detention Center.
After the court issued an arrest warrant in April, Micon started a crowdfunding campaign through the website GoFundMe to get $100,000 in donations for his legal defense.
“I desire nothing more than to continue to be with my wife, raise my daughter, and continue to build layers on top of the Bitcoin protocol. The state of Nevada desires to take that away from me,” Micon said on the website.
Although he managed to raise $4,005 from 59 donators, GoFundMe prohibited Micon to withdraw the funds.
Currently, Micon is facing a gaming charge that is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $50,000. This case is the first prosecution of the poker website that accepts bitcoin.
The Gaming Control Board first found out about the website in 2013, following a complaint from a resident of Belgium. According to gaming agents of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, Micon stated the gaming system brought monthly revenues of $10,000 – $12,000.
Micon is now released on his own recognizance and is expected to appear at court next week, where the plea deal will be either approved or rejected by the judge. In case the District Court judge rejects the deal, he has the right to withdraw the plea, Micon’s laywer stated.
However, Schonfeld believes there won’t be any problems with the plea deal stating it is “an appropriate resolution”. Micon did not provide any comments on the case.