The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Nevada authorities issued an arrest warrant on Monday for Micon in relation to his operation of the bitcoin poker site, Seals With Clubs, which closed its virtual doors in February. According to the LVRJ report, it is the first prosecution of its kind, and it carries with it “a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.” A press conference to reveal more details about the case was scheduled for Tuesday.
More from the LVRJ:
Court papers filed Monday state that Micon operated Seals with Clubs, which accepted Bitcoin digital currency, between March 1, 2014 and Feb. 9, 2015 “without first procuring and thereafter maintaining in effect the required licenses.”
Reached through email Monday, Micon directed inquiries to his lawyer.
“Bryan has always maintained that he committed no wrongdoing, but I’m not in a position to comment on the Attorney General’s filing because I haven’t seen it,” said defense attorney Richard Schonfeld.
The site was shut down in February, after actions taken by Nevada authorities against Micon and the site. You can find more background on the shutdown of Seals With Clubs here.
In response, Micon has launced a “Go Fund Me” campaign, called “Bryan Micon’s Legal Defense Fund.” Micon is seeking $100K to help with his legal defense:
I maintain that I have committed no wrongdoing and have retained the legal services of Chesnoff & Schonfeld, whom I believe are the best lawyers for my case.
The price for representation will quickly deplete my funds, and I am asking for donations from anyone who feels like helping me.
Within an hour, Micon had already raised $1,000 from three people.
After the shutdown in February, Micon fled the U.S. to the Caribbean country of Antigua with his family. Once there, he took to YouTube to detail a raid on his home in Nevada:
“A bunch of guys with guns broke down my door, put me in handcuffs, serving a warrant from the Nevada Gaming Commission regarding Seals with Clubs and bitcoin poker,” Micon said. “Next eight hours, they stole most of my electronics.” Micon also said he was led outside in his underwear. You can listen to his account below.
It appears that Micon’s intent is to return to the United States to fight the charge. His argument will likely be that bitcoin is not the same as real currency in terms of gambling law, a theory that has not been tested in U.S. courts. If he returns to Nevada to face the charges, it seems likely that he would not be able to post bail, since he has already established that he is a flight risk by moving to Antigua.
On Twitter: @Dustin Gouker