Court Orders Man to Play Poker

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Samuel McMaster is a professional poker player from Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the USA. He has been found guilty of fraud and he owes approximately half a million dollars to clients whom he swindled through a number of insurance scams. In total he has been found guilty of 26 felonies and, unless he can repay most of the money, it is likely that he will face a custodial sentence. Most of his clients were elderly. He would play the role of a securities agent and fraudulently offered the clients very high returns on credits and promissory notes which he was unable to pay.

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He has now agreed to repay the money at a rate of $7,500 a month for a year after which time he will receive his final sentence. If he fails to keep up this level of repayments the judgement will be terminated and he will face an immediate custodial sentence which is likely to be for a minimum of twelve years.

The judge who made the order told McMaster that he must play in poker tournaments across the USA in order to earn sufficient money. Playing poker is considered by the courts to be a profession just as any other profession, so the judge saw nothing strange in making the order.

Even if McMaster is successful over the coming months, he intends to play poker both online and in live tournaments, and he is able to repay most or even all of the money, he may still have to go to prison, though his lawyer says that this is likely to be for a considerably reduced sentence. He said that it was not the same as a get out of jail free card.

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