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March trial expected for two charged in Internet poker case

A judge has told lawyers to expect a March trial for two men charged in a case that shut down U.S. operations for three Internet poker companies.

Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan listened to arguments Thursday before telling the attorneys for former bank executive John Campos and co-defendant Chad Elie that a March 12 trial was likely.

One prosecutor told Kaplan that Congress did not intend to protect companies that knowingly process financial transactions for Internet gambling companies.

Campos formerly worked at SunFirst Bank in St. George, Utah. The bank processed money for foreign-based online poker sites PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Full Tilt’s operations in the United States have been shut down since April, when an indictment against executives and others associated with Full Tilt, Poker Stars and Absolute Poker accused them of fraud, money laundering and tricking banks into illegally processing funds for online gambling in defiance of a 2006 law that prohibits the transactions.

Prosecutors said that in March, Full Tilt had $60 million in funds to cover $390 million in player balances and had used $444 million to pay company executives and board members, including several poker professionals

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