New York: Two Plead Guilty for ‘High-Stakes’ Illegal Poker Games

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
August 16, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Two men pleaded guilty on Friday for their roles in the operation of “high-stakes,” illegal poker games in New York City, officials said.

William Barbalat and Kirill Rapoport both pleaded guilty earlier this week for traveling in interstate commerce in aid of an unlawful activity and conducting an illegal gambling business.

“For three years, William Barbalat and Kirill Rapoport oversaw illegal gambling enterprises in the Southern District of New York. With their pleas, we move closer to holding to account all those who participated in this wide-ranging network of criminal conduct linked to organized crime,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a release.

They were both charged in April, along with 32 other men who partook in the poker ring, which was apparently organized by Russian organized crime leaders in the city.

Both men ran illegal poker games from 2010 to 2012, and from 2012 to 2013, respectively.

“At these games, the pots frequently reached tens of thousands of dollars or more,” the U.S. attorney’s office said.

They are the second and third defendants to plead guilty.

Bryan Zuriff pled guilty on July 26.

Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.