August 12, 2010

Man Found Guilty Of Stealing Thousands Of Dollars From His Friends And Clients Has Been Sentenced To Playing Poker - No, Seriously, Poker

Albuquerque, New Mexico (The Weekly Vice) - Samuel McMaster Jr., a 59-year old convicted con-artist who defrauded more than 20 victims of of their money, has been sentenced to playing poker for the next 6 months in order to repay his victims.

According to a New Mexico prosecutors, McMaster was indicted on 44 counts each of sale of unregistered securities, sale of securities by an unlicensed broker-dealer, fraudulent sale of a security; 44 counts of fraud or embezzlement and one count of racketeering.

Investigators say McMaster sold fraudulent investment notes to his clients, mainly senior citizens, for anywhere between $2,500 and $50,000. McMaster ultimately duped his victims out of more than $400,000.

While faced with 549 years in prison, McMaster plead guilty to 26 counts in exchange for his special plea deal: to play poker to pay it off.

Prosecutors accepted the deal, granting McMaster 6 months to make payments of $7,500 a month in order to pay off his $444,000 debt to his victims.

If McMaster fails to make two payments, he will immediately return to court for sentencing in which he faces only up to 12 years, according to court records.

According to, McMaster has placed in a few tournament cash games back in 2008 including 2nd place at the Bellagio's $1,000 buy-in event; winning him a total of $12,550 for that tournament.

McMaster has never played in a World Series of Poker event, according to records, but the IRS recognizes poker as employment so the judge seemed to follow suit.

The IRS also makes you pay taxes on the cash value of anything you stole. Hopefully, he'll be audited too.

“If he demonstrates an ability to successfully meet his restitution payments by playing poker, it potentially could sway the judge’s decision on final sentencing,” Kelly O’Donnell, New Mexico’s superintendent of the state’s regulation and licensing department, told ABC.

Lacy Black
The Weekly Vice

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