Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tokwiro COO Leggett Says Russ Hamilton is Guilty but Doubts He'll be Prosecuted for Masterminding UltimateBet Scam

In a thorough comment on the Kahnawake Gaming Commission's 11-page report on the huge online poker cheat scam, Tokwiro boss Paul Leggett expressed enthusiasm that his company, Tokwiro, was not found liable for any of the cheating that transpired, with the bulk of the blame going to Ultimate Bet’s previous owners. “It is very important to us that everyone understands that our company had nothing to do with the cheating on UltimateBet,” Leggett wrote in his Tuesday blog entry. In an effort to clear up any confusion regarding other information released in the KGC report, Leggett dedicated the rest of his post to discussing his own thoughts on the findings.

He began by trying to put the scope of both UB’s internal investigation and the one conducted by the KGC into context. Leggett claimed most avenues the investigation explored resulted in dead ends, in part, because the KGC lacked resources of a law enforcement agency since it is simply a regulatory body.

“This limited the Tokiwro and KGC investigations because the only evidence available was data,” Leggett explained, before he moved on to address the data itself. The COO claimed he did not know definitively who the other 31 people listed in the report are, but he said he could “make a very educated guess as to which names were included.”

Many who have read the report chided the KGC for releasing only Hamilton’s name and suggested he is being made to be the scapegoat for the actions of many. Leggett agrees with the KGC’s assertion that Hamilton is the person who masterminded the operation:

“In my opinion, the KGC released his name because there was an overwhelming amount of evidence that showed he was the person using the software and accounts to cheat, that his close associates helped facilitate the changing of usernames and the movement of monies, and that he was the main beneficiary of the proceeds from the cheating,” wrote Leggett.

As for any potential legal action that may be taken towards Hamilton and others in the future, Leggett remains skeptical and blames the lack of regulation of online poker in the U.S. for the difficulty inherent against pressing charges and opening up a legal investigation. He explained, “The current legal environment in the United States, relating to online poker, makes it very complicated for the proper authorities to work with us and for us to bring a claim against individuals in the United States.” He then went on to make his own case for pushing for online gambling regulation in the coming months.

Leggett concluded his thoughts by expressing his own personal frustration and sadness dealing with the investigation over the past several months. He even acknowledged his de facto role as bad guy to several members of the online poker community, but concluded by suggesting the worst is behind Ultimate Bet and the $22 million reimbursement and $15 million settlement with UB’s previous owners are two big steps towards proving that the site is a safe and fun place for people to play poker online.