Samuel McMaster Jr is a 59 year old New Mexico resident who spent the last several years defrauding elderly investors out of their money. His involvement in a major security scam landed him in court, and he has been charged with 26 felonies, including the sale of an unregistered security, fraud over $20,000, and sale of a security by an unlicensed brokerdealer.
McMaster was originally looking at 84 years in prison as punishment for his crimes, but his lawyer arranged a plea agreement on Wednesday that will see him instead pay $7,500 a month in restitution to his victims. Interestingly, since being banned from the securities industry, McMaster has been making his living as a professional poker player. In light of this, he has been granted permission to travel the United States, playing poker for money.
McMaster now has 6 months to show the court he is a good enough poker player to win enough money to repay the $440,000 that he owes his victims. If he falls behind by two payments during the next 6 months, he will end up in prison.
“We do have the unusual case here where we are agreeing to delay sentencing for a period of time to allow Mr. McMaster to set a track record as to whether or not he can pay back $400,000 in restitution,” said state prosecutor Phylis H. Bowman.
Because of the current state of American gambling laws, McMaster will only be allowed to play in land-based poker tournaments to win back the money he stole. A bill was recently passed the US House of Representatives that could legalize and regulate online poker sites in the United States if approved by the Senate, but even if the bill is passed, it is not likely that any changes will be seen this year.