2 NYC men who ran illegal poker games plead guilty

NEW YORK (AP) — Two men have pleaded guilty to illegally operating high-stakes New York City poker games with pots regularly reaching tens of thousands of dollars.

Prosecutors say Kirill Rapoport pleaded guilty Friday to conducting an illegal poker game, and William Barbalat pleaded guilty Wednesday to traveling in interstate commerce in aid of operating an illegal poker game.

Defense attorneys for both men say their clients had no ties to organized crime.

The men were among 34 people accused in April of being part of a scheme by two Russian-American organized-crime enterprises. Prosecutors say the enterprises laundered $100 million from illegal gambling including poker games attended by celebrities and pro athletes.

Barbalat and Rapoport face up to five years in prison when sentenced in December.

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