Daniel Tzvetkoff is a very intelligent man that started
developing computer software programs at a very early age. By
age twenty one, he owned his own online billing company,
Intabill, which was very successful as their main clients were
the top poker sites in the industry.
Unfortunately, misconduct on Tzvetkoff’s part led the company
going bankrupt which meant he owed a lot of people, a lot of
money. He eventually was caught and in order to escape
jail-time, he worked alongside the FBI, becoming the man behind
online poker’s Black Friday.
How It All Started
Daniel Tzvetkoff was born in October of 1983. You could
easily say that Tzvetkoff was a nerd from the start, being
intrigued by computers and developing his first web design
business by the time he turned thirteen. His talent was so
evident that The New York Times hired him to animate the
cartoons for their website.
One year later, he was making so much money that he decided
to drop out of school. He had developed a software program that
would ease the process of online transactions and it was very
popular among newer businesses. It wasn’t until 2004 when he
officially owned his own company, Intabill, which quickly became
one of the most trusted online billing companies in the country.
Intabill – An Instant Success
Tzvetkoff wanted to focus solely on the software development
side to the business, so he hired Sam Sciacca to handle the
business side. Sciacca was a lawyer with twelve years experience
and was more educated than Tzvetkoff who never made it to
The business grew approximately ten to twenty percent every
month since it first came into production. Before Tzvetkoff knew
it, his company had over five thousand clients across seventy
different countries, causing Tzvetkoff to reach Business
Review Weekly’s Young Rich List.
His new lifestyle certainly reflected the amount of money he
made, as he owned and traveled in a private jet, a yacht, and a
$70,000 Lamborghini. We also can’t help but mention that his
house was worth over $28 million dollars.
Tzvetkoff had so much money on his hands that it was almost
overwhelming for him, so his business partner, Sciacca,
suggested that they open Hugo Services and Trendsact, a
payday lending service, which they ran with two other gentlemen:
John Scott Clark and Curtis Pope. In just nine short months the
company had managed to double its initial value of $30,000
The Ups and Downs of the Industry
In 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act had
been passed, forcing many poker sites to stop accepting
transactions from US customers. This is where Tzvetkoff steps in
and offered a way for those sites to stay in business with US
customers, by illegally providing an online billing system that
will allow them to do so. Intabill signed a contract with three
major sites: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.
Intabill took off after they picked up these three huge
clients and they seemed to be on a steady up rise until the end
of 2008, when Intabill started to have issues with processing
their bigger clients’ payments, which of course included their
newly added poker sites. Intabill had over $20 million dollars
worth of frozen accounts, and they were truly struggling
In order to compensate from their financial losses, Tzvetkoff
and Sciacca started taking out profits from Hugo Services and
Trendsact to repay their clients from Intabill. They were on the
right track until they stopped receiving payments from their
payday loan company, leaving them confused and very angry.
After look deeper into the issue, they discovered that their
business partners, Clark and Pope, had transferred all of Hugo
Services and Trendsact’s assets to an account that only they had
access to, essentially making it impossible for them to payback
their Intabill customers.
Tzvetkoff and Sciacca angrily rushed to Las Vegas to see if
they could settle the issue, but it didn’t take them long to
realize that things were seriously wrong after they arrived.
Security met them at the door of their office building and they
were denied access to their own offices.
After they came back home, they immediately tried to take
legal action against Clark and Pope, but their clients were
losing their patience with them, as they weren’t receiving any
funds during this time. Full Tilt Poker and Pokerstars in
particular started complaining and it wasn’t long before Full
Tilt Poker pressed charges against Intabill.
A forensic accountant was brought in to see if there was any
misconduct on their side of the fence and it was discovered that
Tzvetkoff had been slowly taking funds from Intabill’s main
account and transferring them to his own personal one in the
form of loans to make it look less suspicious.
How This All Relates to Black Friday
After being on the run for several months, Tzvetkoff was
found in Las Vegas and was arrested by the FBI for leading a
$540 million dollar racket for over two years and for owing over
$140 million dollars to creditors and in back taxes. To avoid a
sentence of seventy-six years in prison, Tzvetkoff struck a deal
with the FBI and became their informant, ultimately leaking
information to them that would lead to the unfortunate events of
Tzvetkoff, his fiancé, and their two young children were
placed in witness protection in New York’s Harlem while awaiting
trial. Thanks to Tzvetkoff’s assistance, many of his former
friends and clients in the industry were now facing either heavy
fines or short jail terms.
Among these men was his ex-partner, Curtis Pope, who had
burned him several years prior. Pope was sentenced to serve
twenty-one months in prison after pleading guilty to crimes
involving money-laundering and illegal gambling.
On April 15th, 2011, the Department of Justice raided all of
the world’s biggest online poker sites, including the three that
had been clients to Intabill. Seventy-five bank accounts across
fourteen different countries were frozen and billions of
winnings and personal fortunes ultimately disappeared.
Police were thankful for Tzvetkoff’s help, but they were
still confused about all the money he had stolen, as it wasn’t
all accounted for. Investigator Leighton on the case said, “Rumours persist that Daniel Tzvektoff may have
managed to hide away some of the money he earned as neither the
Intabill liquidator, nor the Department of Justice have found
any evidence of the alleged missing millions.”
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