Poker pro Travell Thomas, who has more than $500,000 in lifetime tournament earnings, was sentenced to 100 months in federal prison on Thursday for orchestrating a fraudulent debt collection business out of Buffalo, NY.
Thomas pleaded guilty late last year to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud. His sentencing was delayed in February.
He was facing up to 40 years in prison.
The U.S. government said the company, Four Star Resolution, siphoned some $31 million from victims between 2010 and 2015. Thomas served as the president and CEO of the business.
Thomas was also ordered to forfeit $31 million, though the government said he only pocketed a small fraction of the business’ revenue during its lifespan.
“Thomas instructed his debt collectors to threaten, intimidate, and lie to their victims by overstating their debts and making false claims about what would happen to if they didn’t pay up,” former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said last fall.
He said that the case is “believed to be the largest fraudulent debt collection scheme ever to be prosecuted.” Thomas’ lawyers claimed that the case was racially motivated.
Bharara, who was fired by President Trump earlier this year, was the man who went after the world’s largest poker sites in an event known to the poker community as Black Friday.
Thomas’ last poker tournament cash came in September 2015, just weeks before the indictment.
According to court documents, Thomas suffers from bi-polar disorder and a gambling problem.