Haley's Poker Blog

No bad beats, but still a poker blog... hence the anguish.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Just Conjecturin', Volume 22: It's the Plane, Boss, the Plane!

With a tip of the hat to the late, great Herve Villechaize...

... as well as one to 2+2 poster TookURCookie, for reminding me about the plane crash involving Absolute Poker executives back in 2007. It occurred at 12:50pm on September 3, 2007, at the Juan Santamaria International airport in Alajuela, Costa Rica, just north of Costa Rica, wherein a rented private jet blew a tire just prior to takeoff and left the runway, skidding to a stop. No one was injured in the incident, but in leaving the runway the jet's landing gear collapsed and its fuel tank ruptured, closing the airfield for about six hours. There are some nice photos of the plane, the accident and its aftermath here.

Some of the earlier reports said that in addition to the pilot and co-pilot, two passengers were aboard. Other reports said there were four passengers, and those reports were correct: The passengers were AP executives Scott Tom and Oscar Hilt Tatum IV (two of the four Montana frat brothers who founded the firm), and their wives. Hilt's wife was five months pregnant at the time so she was transported to the hospital for a brief examination, but was quickly released.

(By the way, if anyone starts posting wedding photos on 2+2 again after reading this, I hope the mods permaban them.)

What the crash did was start off a whole series of lurid posts and stories, including some of the wildest allegations levied in all of the AP affair's aftermath -- up to $7 million in stolen funds from the AP site, Tom and/or Tatum having $2-3 million in cash on the crashed plane, allegations of cocaine use, and of course the reputed "American Beauty"-style portrait of reputed scandal kingpin and AP operational exec AJ Green (Allan J. Grimard) lying naked on a futon, mostly covered in $100 bills. That's just the start of it.

Looking back, did or do any of these tales have legs? That is, besides the reputed legs of AJ on the futon? In a future post we'll look at some of that stuff, and at least try to separate the pure rumor from what is known or can be discerned from mainstream media reports.

For now, though, it's about the crash itself, and its timing in relation to other events.

A couple of days ago, an anonymous poster on 2+2 using the handle CantStayQuietAnymo posted some usage logs and timestamps, as mentioned in my previous post. I did not have the DoubleDrag usage info, so let's put that in here, with another hat tip, and follow it by once again showing the user info for Graycat and PotChopper:

DOUBLEDRAG: Registered with IP 200.91.72.29

Shared computer with account names: PAYUP, SOX, GRAYCAT,
STEAMROLLER, POTRIPPER, BIGGTIME, DB9007

Only used one Computer, Device ID 11451887

IP's Used
9/6/2007 206.48.58.10 Location: ST. LUCIA
9/6/2007 thru 9/9/2007 204.188.174.201 Location: ANTIGUA
9/10/2007 209.59.103.108 Location: ANTIGUA
9/11/2007 206.48.58.10 Location: ST. LUCIA
9/13/2007 200.122.181.104 Location: COSTA RICA
9/16/2007 200.122.181.104 Location: COSTA RICA

And the two usage logs for Graycat and the one for PotRipper (click to enlarge).

Graycat:




PotRipper:



PotRipper, for all its infamy, was a brief-lived and seldom-used account. It was Graycat that by all indications was the chief inside cheating account, and look at its usage history, where it was logged into on September 2, 2007, not at all on September 3 or 4, briefly on September 5. We can see DoubleDrag present in St. Lucia on September 6, and then that account corresponds with Greycat, which turned up in Antigua on September 8 and St. Lucia on September 11 before returning to Costa Rica on the afternoon of September 12, where Doubledrag also shows up the following day. Wednesday, September 12, 2007, for those of you paying attention, was also the day of the infamous PotRipper/CrazyMarco tourney that eventually exposed all the cheating.

Back to the plane crash, and an original quote from a Teletica news report:

"Los ocupantes del avión eran el piloto Mario Quesada y el copiloto David Vos, además de 4 pasajeros: 2 parejas que iban de paseo hacia el Caribe." Yahoo's BabelFish translation is wretched, but what it's saying in addition to listing the pilot and co-pilot is that the passengers were off to start a Caribbean vacation, which it reiterated a few paragraphs later on.

If one surmises that after a day or two of dealing with the airplane mishap and its aftermath, then perhaps the Toms and Tatums -- continuing under the presumption that either Scott or Hilt or both were involved in the cheating -- went ahead and rebooked a flight and tried to enjoy the rest of a Caribbean-hopping vacation.

See, if any of the accounts Graycat or PotRipper or Doubledrag were in active use at about 2:50 pm on September 3rd, it would go a long way toward exonerating Scott Tom and/or Hilt Tatum IV. Such is not the case. Even though the evidence is circumstantial, it points in the opposite direction and keeps the fingers of blame pointed squarely in the same direction, at Scott Tom and those immediately surrounding him at the top of the AP operational heirarchy.

CantStayQuietAnymo added this in his recent post:

"Now what does all this mean? Were 2 fratboys hopping islands superusing the (sh)it out of customers. Or was their only one person traveling alone using two computers to commit the crime. The latter is my guess."

He'd guess the latter? I wouldn't. The cumulative timestamps indicate that it might very well indeed have been two fratboys island-hopping and superusing the shit out of customers, with or without AJ Green's contributions, at least in the days immediately prior to the Potripper affair.

More on the plane crash later.

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