It’s the premise of many a television crime drama, said Paul Toohey in the Brisbane, Australia, Courier-Mail. A member of a criminal conspiracy rips off his fellow crooks and flees into the arms of prosecutors, hoping to escape with a reduced jail sentence—and his life. That plot is now playing out in the real world, with “Brisbane boy wonder” Daniel Tzvetkoff at center stage. Tzvetkoff, 28, has reportedly cut a deal with U.S. prosecutors to spill the beans on “bank fraud, money laundering, and other gambling offenses” in the Internet poker industry, in exchange for a reduction in a prison sentence of as much as 75 years.
Tzvetkoff allegedly laundered $500 million for online gambling companies, including three of the biggest U.S. poker websites—Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker—by disguising gamblers’ payments as remittances for golf balls or jewelry. The U.S. this week indicted the sites and shut them down. Tzvetkoff is reportedly hiding in a “safe house” from hit squads sent to silence him, telling the FBI the secrets that “could bring down the world of online gambling.” A former FBI agent says Tzvetkoff has “seen the light.” Or maybe he felt the heat.