Brent Carter, a two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and a long-time professional poker player, has been indicted by New York State after allegedly threatening and mailing various substances to New York State Gaming Commission offices on multiple occasions.
Carter, 72, has been charged with conveying false information and hoaxes after testing determined that the substances sent to the NYSGC offices were in fact harmless. The charges follow years of threats allegedly made by Carter toward the New York commission, with the root cause allegedly being resentment harbored by Carter dating all the way back to 1976, when he worked in New York’s horse-racing industry.
Carter’s industry license at that time was temporarily suspended due to cheating allegations, though the charges were later dropped and his suspension was lifted. Nonetheless, Carter allegedly held a long-term grudge against the gaming commission.
According to the criminal complaint against Carter, which was filed on February 5, 2021, he made repeated veiled threats against the NYSGC in 2018. The complaint cites phone messages left by Carter in the agency’s phone messaging system that referenced the then-recent 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting at an MGM Grand outdoor concert that left 60 people dead.
One message went:
“Well it looks like the shooter in Las Vegas missed you guys. As long as you’re not available, you should be made permanently not available.” Another said, “You’re all criminals anyway, evil, dishonest people, just unprosecuted criminals.” Excerpts from other messages included comments such as, “Too bad you weren’t walking down the street when the guy came through, that would have been appropriate,” and “Why have innocent people killed when you could have the Office of Inspector General people eliminated from their dirty deeds?”
Such messages were then followed by the mailing of miscellaneous substances to the NYSGC offices. Carter allegedly mailed at least four such substance-filled letters between 2019 and early 2021. The first was labeled “CRITICAL EVIDENCE” and after being tested was found to contain birdseed, dirt, a paperclip, and hair. Three subsequent envelopes contained powdered sugar, powdered drywall, and finally, talcum powder.
When investigators told Carter that mailing such substances was a federal crime, he allegedly responded:
“I guess in my mind I didn’t think this out but when I sent stuff, the garbage or junk, whatever, I sent, I guess it was revenge or trying to slow down their thinking.”
The last letter, containing the talcum powder, was allegedly mailed after NY investigators had contacted Carter about the earlier threats.
Carter is best known in the poker world for winning two WSOP bracelets, in a 1991 $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event and a 1994 $1,500 (Fixed-) Limit Omaha tourney. Carter’s largest cash, however, was a third-place run worth $302,000 in the 1995 WSOP Main Event won by “Action Dan” Harrington. Carter has amassed just under $3.1 million in recorded tournament cashes in a career stretching all the way back to 1986, though he has not cashed in a recorded event since 2015.
According to a press statement from the Northern District of New York Attorney’s Office announcing the charges, Carter could face a maximum of five years in prison, a three-year term of post-imprisonment supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. Carter was not taken into custody, having asked for COVID-19-related relief and a continuance, and he remains free on his own recognizance following his initial arraignment hearing.
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