Poker player Gal Yifrach has been charged by US federal authorities with conducting an illegal gambling business and money laundering, according to a newly unsealed indictment.
The Israeli-born World Series of Poker bracelet winner is alleged to have run an illegal slots operation in his home state of California with co-defendants Shalom Ifrah and Nick Shkolnik.
Yifrach is a brand ambassador for Hustler Casino Live and the Live Stream Poker Show, two popular live poker streams, and has appeared regularly on Live at the Bike, the original and best-known live poker stream.
Last year, he lost a $300,000 pot playing $200-$400 no limit hold’em during a Hustler Live session.
Checks for Chips
Yifrach and his accomplices used several methods to launder their ill-gotten gains, including changing dirty money for casino chips, according to federal prosecutors. Investigators monitored Yifrach’s communications, intercepting messages he sent to others involved in the operation, the filings says.
These revealed that in 2018, he swapped just over $200,000 in casino chips for checks from a gaming establishment referred to in the indictment only as “Casino 1.” He then deposited the checks into his bank accounts and invested the money in real estate, according to the indictment.
Casino 1 is described by prosecutors as being in Bell Gardens, Calif. The Bicycle Casino, home of Live at the Bike, is the only casino in Bell Gardens.
Last November, federal authorities fined the casino $500,000 for failing to follow anti-money laundering procedures. However, the infractions detailed in the complaint against “The Bike” dated from 2016, and are unrelated to the Yifrach case.
Other methods employed by Yifrach to wash money included handing over cash to an associate, named in the complaint as “Individual 6,” who would issue corporate checks for the equivalent sum from two unidentified firms.
Amusingly, The Daily Beast has discovered via corporation records that until 2019, Yifrach owned an actual laundromat in San Diego.
Yifrach appears to have taken out adve-torials in several media outlets recently, including the Jerusalem Post, L.A. Weekly, and the music and entertainment-focused Vents Magazine. These gushingly extol his virtues and describe his “incredible journey to the top.”
Vents describes his “strong qualities” that make him a “role model and an inspiration for so many people.”
“What sets Yifrach apart from most people is that he has incredibly high standards not only as a poker player or an entrepreneur but also as a human being,” reads the advertorial. “He wants to inspire others to become the best versions of themselves and be generous and humble.”
In convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.
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