, Matt Sowash, the 34-year-old former head of the Amateur Poker Tour, has been sentenced to five years in prison and five years of probation for bilking investors out of more than $400,000.
Sowash and business partner Andrew Hicks (who has yet to face trial) were arrested in July and charged with five counts of felony securities fraud. The APT shut down in 2007 after an angry investor came up with a plan to kill Sowash by kidnapping him and putting his legs inside a box filled with rattlesnakes.
That case was detailed in the 2007 Westword feature, Free Poker Tour is a Dead Man's Hand.
More information, as provided by the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, can be read after the jump.
From the Jefferson County D.A.:
"A 34-year-old Wheat Ridge man was sentenced yesterday to five years in prison for bilking investors out of over $400,000 as a result of fraudulent business ventures.
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Matthew Robert Sowash operated two businesses in Jefferson County. The first was called Market My Business (MMB) and was established to help investors find a business to purchase. The business was located in Golden. Sowash solicited three investors who put up a total of $140,000 under the agreement that Sowash would find a suitable business opportunity for them. The money was supposed to have been secure in an escrow account. No business opportunities were ever provided and their money was lost.
Sowash's second business was the Amateur Poker Tour (APT) and was located in Wheat Ridge. Sowash and a business partner solicited investors to purchase a share in the business. The APT engaged in the business of professional gambling. They would contract with restaurants and bars to conduct Texas Hold'em style poker games in their businesses. There were eight victims who lost over $330,000 by purchasing shares in APT.
While the APT could technically operate legally, Sowash failed to notify potential investors of his numerous failed business ventures as required by the Colorado's securities' fraud statute. Sowash has previously filed bankruptcy and is party in numerous civil cases where he is named as the defendant.
Sowash pled guilty to Theft, a class three felony, on September 22. He was sentenced to five years prison, to be followed by five years parole, on November 23. The case of co-defendant Andrew Hicks is pending trial."