2011 WSOP Champ Darren Woods On Trial for Collusion and Fraud
Early last week, British poker professional Darren Woods appeared at the Crown Court in Sheffield, UK, in a lawsuit that alleges the 2011 World Series of Poker bracelet winner committed a number of frauds against online poker rooms and online payment processors.
According to the charges moved against Woods, between 2007 and 2012 the player opened a number of fake accounts at online poker sites and payment processors to cheat at the tables and take advantage of the sites' affiliate programs.
During his hearing in court, Woods plead not guilty to all the charges moved against him.
Suspects over Woods' poker results and online presence started back in December 2011, when several high-stakes players decided to open a thread on the popular Two Plus Two poker forum to accuse Woods of collusion at 888poker and within the iPoker network.
The players believed that Woods — who at that time was a sponsored pro at 888poker and a popular coach at PokerStrategy — operated online with numerous accounts illegally opened using bogus identities.
To prove their accusations, players reported data from a series of suspicious online sessions where Woods — who was known online as "Doshcom" — had won hundreds of thousands of dollars at 888' $500/$1,000 short-stack tables in what they deemed to be the result of a collusion with player "Benkaremail" and several other players.
Although no specific statement was issued, both PokerStrategy and 888poker decided to cut ties with Woods and freeze his account shortly after the players provided them with the hands history of the games they believed to be irregular.
Fast forward to 2014, when the accusations published on Two Plus Two led to a lawsuit against Woods for 13 different fraud offences conducted between the beginning of 2007 and January 2012.
According to the accusations, Woods worked together with his father, 59-year Iranian native businessman Morteza Gharoon, to create a network of fake accounts and get an unfair advantage at the poker table through collusion.
As the local British newspaper The Grimsby Telegraph reported, the two would have managed to bypass the security measure set up by rooms and payment processors thanks to the unauthorized use of real individuals' documents and by using different computers for each one of the accounts.
Together with the accusations of fraud, Woods' father now also faces charges for money laundering through credit billings, on behalf of his son. During the hearing, Woods' father was reported to have said that he believed to have acted in line with the UK regulation as his son reassured him about the legitimacy of his actions.