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Press Release

Two Defendants Plead Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Participating In GamblingRings Connected To Organized Crime

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that WILLIAM BARBALAT and KIRILL RAPOPORT pled guilty for their roles in the operation of high-stakes illegal poker games in New York City. BARBALAT pled guilty on August 14, 2013 before U.S. District Court Judge Jesse M. Furman to traveling in interstate commerce in aid of an unlawful activity, the operation of an illegal poker game. RAPOPORT pled guilty today before Judge Furman to conducting an illegal gambling business, an illegal poker game.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “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.”

BARBALAT and RAPOPORT were charged in April 2013 in a 34-defendant indictment charging members and associates of two Russian-American organized crime enterprises with various crimes including racketeering, money laundering, extortion, and various gambling offenses.

According to the Indictment, a superseding information filed against RAPOPORT, other documents filed in this case, and statements made at various conferences in this case:

BARBALAT and RAPOPORT each ran a high-stakes illegal poker game in New York City from 2010 through 2012, and 2012 through 2013, respectively. At these games, the pots frequently reached tens of thousands of dollars or more. The operators of these games, including BARBALAT and RAPOPORT, collected percentages of the pots known as “rakes.” Each of the poker games employed at least five or more people to assist with the operation of the games, payments of debts, and collection of debts.

BARBALAT and RAPOPORT each face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and three years of supervised release. As part of his plea agreement, BARBALAT agreed to forfeit $150,000 to the United States. RAPOPORT agreed to forfeit $250,000 to the United States. BARBALAT and RAPOPORT are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Furman on December 16, 2013 at 3:30 p.m. and December 18, 2013 at 3:00 p.m., respectively.

BARBALAT and RAPOPORT are the second and third defendants to plead guilty in the case. Bryan Zuriff pled guilty on July 26, 2013 and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Furman on November 25, 2013 at 3:00 p.m.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York City Police Department, and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Harris M. Fischman, Joshua A. Naftalis, Peter Skinner, and Kristy J. Greenberg of the Organized Crime Unit are in charge of the prosecution. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexander Wilson and Christine Magdo of the Office’s Asset Forfeiture Unit are responsible for the forfeiture aspects of the case.

U.S. v. Kirill Rapoport S1 Information
U.S. v. Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov et al. Indictment

Updated May 18, 2015

Press Release Number: 13-278