Darren Woods, a former UK WSOP winner has been accused of online poker fraud and 12 charges have been filed against him. Woods who is 29 years old had to appear last week at the Sheffield Crown Court. Woods and his father Morteza Gharoon are alleged to have committed online poker fraud between Jan 2007 and Jan 2012. Gharoon has reportedly helped his son with money laundering.
Woods was pretty well known and respected on the poker circuit and also served as a mentor and limit hold’em coach at pokerstrategy.com during 2011. After winning the WSOP $2,500 Limit Hold’em Six Handed Event, he walked away with $213,431 and a high paying affiliate sponsorship deal with 888.com. Woods played under the online screen name ‘Dooshcom’ and was doing relatively well, till he decided to team up ‘Benkaremail’. This partnership led to Woods winning high stake tournaments earning hundreds of thousands of dollars playing the $500/1000 shortstack tables.
Yet these wins appeared to be botched and soon things started going south for Woods when a number of players started posting their suspicions on the TwoPlusTwo poker forum and then went on to forward hand history details to pokerstrategy.com. Both of Woods is partnerships were terminated as pokerstrataegy.com immediately fired him and 888 decided to freeze all of Wood’s accounts. 888 completely its investigation on Woods and then passed its findings on to the Humberside Police.
A statement released by the Telegraph on Wood’s case says
Woods allegedly made money from the fraudulently opened accounts by playing at the same online poker table at the same time using different identities, giving him an advantage because he would unfairly know the hands of some of the other players.
Woods is also accused of defrauding 888 out of $236,994 in affiliate commission by allegedly creating false identities and then using it to claim affiliate commissions. Woods has been in court over all of these allegations for the past 2 years and if the court finds him guilty, then not only will he have to pay 888 back but the online poker players that he cheated will also be eligible to receive some of their money back. Currently, Dooshcom’s frozen account on 888 has an undisclosed amount of funds and the court might instruct the company to liquidate the account and distribute the funds accordingly.
While Woods is to be considered innocent till proven guilty, the case and the negative publicity has already done sufficient damage his reputation and online poker career.