Alleged Online Poker Fraudster Changes Plea

In a dramatic about-turn, Darren Woods changes nine of his pleadings to guilty in a Sheffield court

The trial in Sheffield, England of alleged online poker fraudster Darren Woods took a dramatic turn this week when the poker pro changed his plea to guilty on certain of the charges facing him (see previous InfoPowa reports).

His father Morteza Gharoon also folded his cards, agreeing a guilty plea on a single money laundering charge linked to his son's dishonest activity and not involving more than GBP 230,000, the Grimsby Telegraph newspaper reports.

Twenty-nine-year-old Woods initially pleaded not guilty to 13 fraud offences which allegedly took place between January 2007 and January 2012 but, part way through the trial, he changed his pleas to guilty on nine of these.

The prosecution at Sheffield Crown Court claimed that Woods made improper use of internet poker sites by pretending to online gambling companies that he was somebody else.

The prosecutor in the high-value trial told the jury and the court that Woods illegally used other people's identities to gain commissions above what he would have been allowed to do if he had been using just his own name.

Woods is alleged to have bought and used a number of private virtual networks to disguise his online identity, along with several different computers in a bid to "fool the systems", the prosecution claimed.

The guilty pleas shorten the time needed to complete the case, which was originally scheduled to run for several weeks. Sentencing on the father and son will now take place in December.

The Grimsby Telegraph reveals that the criminal investigation targeting Woods began in late 2011 and was led by Humberside Police's economic crime unit, with the help and co-operation of many well-known and reputable online gambling companies.

The case has taken some time to come to court, but a restraining order was served on the two men back in December 2011, freezing all their assets.

Fellow poker players were the first to pick up on Woods' activities back in late 2011, when several experienced high stakes players posted on the twoplustwo forum, alleging collusion, multiple accounting and ID dishonesty at iPoker and 888Poker.

The player-detectives gathered factual evidence of Woods' activity as Dooshcom, assembling data from a number of suspicious online sessions in which he was involved, and revealing that very large sums of money – in the hundreds of thousands – had been lost in questionable plays that strongly suggested collusion with certain identified other accounts.

Shortly thereafter the online sites acted against Woods, although it is not confirmed whether this actually triggered the police investigation that subsequently brought the admitted fraudster down.

Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa

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