High stakes cash game regular and WSOP bracelet winner, Gal Yifrach, is facing up to 25 years in jail after being charged with conducting an illegal gambling business and conspiracy to commit laundering.
The 35-year-old Los Angeles-based pro has more than $2million to his name in Hendon Mob-recorded live cashes and is a regular on the televised Live at the Bike cash game and is also brand ambassador for the popular Hustler Casino Live.
This week, however, a Grand Jury indictment sees Yifrach named along with three other defendants, the 11-page document first obtained by The Daily Beast revealing Yifrach’s alleged crimes.
These include using the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, California – home of Live at the Bike – to launder dirty money, by exchanging cash for chips and checks.
Yifrach, along with Nickita “Nick” Shkolnik, Shalom Ifrah, and Yosef Yitzchak are alleged to have variously been involved in running an unlicensed video slot machine setup, and exchanging the illegal income for clean money through a variety of illegal methods.
According to the Eastern District of California Court filing, Yifrach and Shkolnik “did conduct, manage, supervise and direct all or part of an illegal gambling business”. This involved “supplying, operating and maintaining video slot machines and devices.”
This unlicensed gaming operation allegedly took place between March 2018 and July 2020 and the money was laundered in various ways “to conceal the fact that their income was derived from operating an illegal gambling business.”
Prosecutors claim Yifrach would hand over cash to an associate and receive business checks in return, which he would then deposit in his bank accounts.
He would also swap cash for casino chips with other gamblers, and then swap the chips for checks, which he would again launder through his bank accounts. The now-laundered money would then be invested in real estate.
The two-year long ruse was uncovered by federal investigators, who received a tip-off about the illegal activities and began to monitor communications between Yifrach and his accomplices.
One of the intercepted messages allegedly sees Yifrach stating he could “change only ‘10’ in each bank without having a report”. This refers to the $10,000 reporting limit for bank deposits, above which money laundering checks would take place.
The indictment states that Yifrach “conducted multiple exchanges at banks where he exchanged exactly $10,000 in smaller bills for larger bills.”
In other exchanges discovered by investigators, Yifrach is said to have discussed swapping $150k in cash from his safe for chips from “Casino 1” – although not named, this can be inferred from the location as the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens.
Just days after this October 2018 discussion, Yifrach allegedly swapped more than $200,000 in casino chips for checks from “Casino 1”.
Messages from January 2020 reveal Yifrach talking about “cleansing the cash”, with his co-accused Ifrah replying “it would be best to continue registering as an employee of a company and giving checks for cash.”
As a result of the investigation, prosecutors have seized more than $565,000 from bank accounts, 4.25 Bitcoin, and 3 properties in Los Angeles.
Gal Yifrach has $2,066,038 in recorded tournament cashes to his name, including a career-best $495,305 for finishing 3rd in last year’s WSOP $50k Super High Roller, behind runner-up Justin Bonomo and winner Michael Addamo.
Yifrach also made it to our Top 10 hands of 2021 compilation when he faced off with Garrett Adelstein on Hustler Casino Live…
Neither Yifrach nor his lawyer have yet commented on the indictment, which could see the poker pro jailed for up to 5 years on the illegal gambling charge and up to 20 years on the money laundering charge.
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