Payment processor, Ira Rubin, 54, stood before Judge Lewis Kaplan on Thursday, was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to forfeit $ 5 million. Rubin, indicted on Black Friday with 10 others, pled guilty to conspiracy charges related to illegal gambling, bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, admitting that he created phony websites and company names to trick U.S. banks into believing all payments were valid e-commerce transactions.
After fleeing to Costa Rica from the U.S. in 2008 to avoid FTC charges related to various telemarketing schemes, Rubin packed up and was attempting to further flee to Thailand, but was arrested at a stopover in Guatemala shortly after Black Friday. He’s been in federal custody ever since and will receive credit for his 15 months of time already served.
The level 13 sentencing guidelines would have provided for a term of 18-24 months, but Kaplan went the extra mile increasing Rubin’s sentence to 3 years. The Associated Press reported that Kaplan labeled Rubin an “unreformed con man and fraudster” saying that Rubin would likely leave prison one day “trying to cook up some new scheme that in all likelihood will be illegal.” The defense had requested Rubin be sentenced to time served, or at least the lower end of the guideline term. The government’s pre sentencing brief asked the court to recognize the severity of Rubin’s actions, including his criminal history which spanned almost 40 years.
Rubin’s Background and Long Criminal History
Beginning with his poor scholastic behavior and believing he didn’t live up to standards set by his older brother, Rubin always felt unacceptable to his family and acted out even as a child. Becoming an embarassment to his parents when police got involved with his juvenile behavior, they shipped him off to boarding school at 16. Caught with marijuana at boarding school, he refused to promise he wouldn’t use it again and was expelled. He ran away before his parents arrived to get him.
On the run and alone at 16, he slept on the streets, ate from garbage pails and was eventually arrested for shoplifting.. Following advice from a psycologist, Rubin’s parents used the tough love route, and did not bail him out, and left him to deal with his legal issue and find himself. Once released from custody, Rubin again lived on the streets and began a run of petty crimes. He was arrested again, served months in the county jail (juvenile section) and when he was released he went back to the streets in Connecticut then NYC and eventually made it to San Francisco. The next few years found him, still a teen, working in strip clubs as a barker and doorman, and eventually selling Tshirts across the country following rock bands. He married, and then was arrested for passing bad checks when his Tshirt business failed. He went to jail for over a year. His son was born when he was in jail, Rubin was 22. Once out, he failed to make a decent living and was again charged for writing bad checks. More time in prison, (his wife divorced him) and in fact, was charged federally at the same time for interstate transportation of a forged check. Consecutive sentences cost Rubin over 3 years of incarceration. Rubin shared a common law marriage with a woman who was serving a term in the same federal prison as he. Once released they went to New York, and Rubin, on parole, worked for a company disseminating sports information, allegedly everyone knew this meant the customers used the “sports information” for gambling purposes.
Rubin and his wife moved to Kansas City and he tried to start his own “sports information” business, which never showed a profit. After that, he had a short stint selling credit card terminal services, and eventually learned that another inmate friend had a business brokering collectible cars. Rubin needed money and tried starting his own collectible car sourcing business, matching cars with buyers. Not satisfied, Rubin and wife moved to Oklahoma to work for a satellite TV company. Making ends meet was still difficult, so while working the satellite job, Rubin tried to broker 7 collectible cars for purchasers in England. While we wasn’t able to find the right cars, he nonetheless accepted the money from the potential buyers. He started up his own satellite business with a friend, and was working steadily, but 2 years later, he was arrested for wire fraud and other charges related to the car sales to England. He pled guilty and was sentenced to another 37 months and restitution of $ 56,000, which he served in Florida. His girlfriend and stepdaughter left his life.
After his release, he found employment at a credit card processing company. A year later, he and 5 other employees left and started their own company to processing company. When that company also failed, he and a friend, started yet another company, Global Marketing, and after picking up business from a Canadian company as their processing agent, the business flourished. Rubin’s company then added credit card processing to their check processing business. He married again and continued working with his Canadian clients.
In 2006, the Federal Trade Commission filed charges against Global for telemarketing schemes, and froze all assets, business and personal. He defended the charges for a while, but eventually fled to Costa Rica to avoid a contempt charge. His wife passed away suddenly here in the states, and he never returned. The FTC received a judgment against Global/Rubin for over $ 8 million, which is still outstanding.
This author published an article last year about the Global suit and all its particulars which can be found here.
While in Costa Rica, Rubin continued processing, now for internet poker and gambling companies, including sportsbook, under his new company name of E-Triton, along with colleagues in the U.S. Among his clients, directly and indirectly, were Absolute Poker, PokerStars and Full tilt Poker and Rubin was named in the Black Friday indictments. While Rubin now admits being involved in setting up fake e-commerce sites disguised to hide transactions to and from various internet poker and gambling sites, he still insists his role was strictly as a webmaster. Following the unsealing of the indictments in New York in April 2011, Ira fled to Guatemala where he was apprehended and sent back to the U.S.
He was eventually transferred back to New York to face the charges and was denied bail and has been incarcerated ever since. After the indictment, but before he was arrested, he managed to move most of his assets offshore, out of the reach of the US government. Reportedly at least $ 2 million is hidden in Cyprus and there are claims that Rubin converted some cash to gold bars, which he gave to a friend for safekeeping, and which the friend allegedly refuses now to part with. Limited information still has not allowed the US government to obtain that money, or others, but they’ve vowed to continue trying. 1