Sentencing Delayed for Defendant as He Plays Poker in Restitution Effort
Posted Aug 9, 2010 7:15 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A professional poker player who pleaded guilty to securities fraud is getting a chance to repay his victims by playing the game.
Samuel McMaster Jr. struck a plea deal with New Mexico authorities that will allow him to play poker—even travel out of state for tournaments—and make monthly restitution payments of $7,500 for the next six months, ABC News reports. He goes back before Judge Ross Sanchez in six months for sentencing, or sooner if he misses two payments during that time.
McMaster is a former Albuquerque insurance agent who pleaded guilty to charges that he promised his clients a high rate of return if they invested in his company’s promissory notes and CDs, KOB.com reports. More than 20 investors together lost $440,000.
Kelly O'Donnell, superintendent of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, told ABC that the judge will ultimately decide McMaster’s sentence. He faces up to 12 years in jail. "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," she said.