Poker news | Feb 05, 2020
Peter Jepsen Convicted in Online Poker Malware Case – Stole €3.5 Million
By RTR Dennis
Danish poker player Peter Jepsen has been convicted of scamming high-stakes online poker pros. He ran a malware scheme from 2008 to 2014 that netted him €3.5 million ($3.9 million).
A Copenhagen courtroom sentenced him to two years and six months in prison. The former Betfair Pro will also have to pay back the stolen DKK 26 million (€3.5m). DKK 800,000 (105,000) will go to a single player, while the rest will go to the justice system.
Due to privacy laws, the Danish media isn’t allowed to name Jepsen when discussing the case. However, many non-Danish news outlets have confirmed that he’s indeed the perpetrator.
How Did Jepsen’s Scam Work?
Peter ‘Zupp’ Jepsen installed trojan horse viruses on laptops of high-stakes poker pros. He, along with multiple accomplices, targeted both his poker friends and acquaintances. They gained access into the players’ hotel rooms at prominent European Poker Tour (EPT) stops and installed the viruses.
Once installed, the trojan horses allowed Jepsen to see his opponents’ hole cards. This super-user ability is similar to how Russ Hamilton used a ‘god mode’ program to bilk former UB Poker players out of $22.1 million.
Suspicious of Jepsen, several Danish poker players contacted authorities. Three witnesses, who helped Jepsen carry out the plot, also testified against him. Copenhagen prosecutors used this evidence to put the famed poker player behind bars.
This Case Confirms Suspicions During 2013 EPT Barcelona
In 2013, multiple poker players brought up suspicious activity that occurred in hotel rooms during ETP stops. Finnish poker pro Jens Kyllonen presented the most-famous account.
Here’s a recap of Kyllonen’s experience at the 2013 EPT Barcelona event:
- Jens couldn’t get into his room at Hotel Arts.
- He visited the front desk and asked for help.
- Kyllonen got into his room and found his laptop missing.
- He left to ask a friend if they knew anything about the incident.
- Jens returned and found his laptop returned.
- He took his PC to F-Secure and discovered that it contained a trojan horse virus.
- F-Secure presented timestamps showing that the virus was installed during EPT Barcelona.
Henri Jaakola is another player who dealt with a similar instance at the tournament series. He also shared taking his PC to a professional and discovering that it was infected.
Who Is Peter Jepsen?
Peter Jepsen isn’t just some random poker player who turned to crime. Instead, he was formerly an elite high-stakes grinder under the handle Zupp.
Jepsen won a fortune playing online poker in the mid and late-2000s. He famously won a $499,307 pot against Tom Dwan in 2008. At the time, this was the largest pot in internet poker history.
Jepsen’s skilled play during the poker boom earned him a lucrative sponsorship deal with Betfair. The Dane represented Betfair in major tournaments and was involved in some of their online promotions.
He was also adept at live tourneys and won the 2007 EPT Warsaw Main Event. Jepsen earned a $415,679 prize for the victory.
However, his career began sliding in late 2008. Jepsen’s online winnings took a nosedive in the nosebleeds. This point may have marked when he committed to scamming fellow pros.
Little Repayment for Affected Players
As mentioned before, Peter Jepsen has been ordered to repay the stolen €3.5 million. Just one player, however, will receive anything back. The unnamed grinder is set to collect €105,000 from the repayment.
The judge likely had a difficult time sorting out who got scammed and for how much. Nevertheless, a paltry €105k going back to the victims is a crime in itself.
Perhaps the court will use whatever Jepsen repays to further cover victims’ losses. Or, they may simply keep the money to pay for the justice system’s time. There’s also the possibility that Jepsen can’t afford to cover most of the amount.
Jepsen’s theft may have even exceeded €3.5 million. He likely scammed some players who didn’t even know they were being cheated.
In any case, Jepsen has been tried and convicted. He’ll spend 30 months in prison for his crimes. This judgement will at least give the victims some retribution.
Jepsen has launched an appeal against the verdict. The court hasn’t decided on when to hear the appeal. Given the accomplices’ and affected players’ testimonies, such an appeal is unlikely to be successful.