Vegas Poker Pro Faces Charges for Mailing Suspicious-Looking Powder to New York Gaming Commission

  • Brent Carter, 72, nursed a burning grudge towards the NYS Gaming Commission for 45 years
  • He mailed four envelopes from Las Vegas to the gaming regulator between 2019 and 2021
  • The first envelopes Carter sent contained a mixture of “birdseed, dirt, a paperclip, and hair”
  • He also left a threatening voice mail message alluding to the 2017 Vegas mass shooting
  • If convicted, the pro poker player is looking at a maximum of five years in prison
male hands holding suspicious package wrapped in brown paper
The US District Court has charged former double WSOP gold-bracelet winner Brent Carter with regularly mailing suspicious-looking power to the New York State Gaming Commission. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Double WSOP gold-bracelet winner had a burning grudge

Professional poker player Brent Carter, 72, appeared in US District Court over charges of frequently mailing dubious-looking powder to the Schenectady headquarters of the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC).

On February 24, federal prosecutors in Albany charged Carter, who won gold bracelets at the 1991 and 1994 World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournaments, with conveying false information and hoaxes.

source of Carter’s ire towards the NYSGC went back to an incident in 1976

According to a criminal complaint, the source of Carter’s ire towards the NYSGC went back to an incident in 1976. At the time, the official governing body temporarily suspended the poker pro’s license to compete in horse racing over alleged cheating.

Despite the NYSGC later clearing Carter and reinstating his license, his sourness remained, according to the affidavit of a investigating Schenectady police detective on the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Suspicious mixture, threatening voicemails

New York news organization Times Union reports that the complaint said Carter – formerly of Oak Park, Illinois and now living in Sin Citym – sent four envelopes from Las Vegas to the NYSGC between April 2019 and January 2021.

Tests revealed that envelope one, labeled “Critical Evidence”, contained a mixture of “birdseed, dirt, a paperclip, and hair.”

Well it looks like the shooter in Las Vegas missed you guys”

Carter also left disturbing voicemail messages for NYSGC staff on October 5, 2018, the affidavit reported. These alluded to a mass shooting that left 60 people dead and 411 injured in Las Vegas in 2017. One voice message said: “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.”

The October 1, 2017 shooting at MGM Resorts International’s Mandalay Bay casino-resort property saw gunman Stephen Paddock open fire on a crowd of 20,000 concertgoers from his room on the 32nd floor before killing himself. On September 30, 2020, MGM agreed to pay $800m in compensation to over 4,400 victims and relatives.

In November 2019, Carter sent a message to an NYSGC worker’s voicemail calling the commission’s employees “evil, dishonest people, just unprosecuted criminals.” He added: “Why have innocent people killed when you could have the Office of Inspector General people eliminated from their dirty deeds[?]”

Envelopes containing sugar and drywall

Not done yet, Carter sent another letter to the NYSGC in June 2019 containing a white powder, which tests identified as sugar. A few days later, he mailed another envelope. This time, the suspicious powder turned out to be drywall, the complaint said.

Investigators subsequently interviewed Carter about the letters and voicemails in Las Vegas in October 2020. The poker pro informed investigators that he was suffering nightmares because he could not locate his horses. Carter also said he wanted to clear up his horse racing suspension and claimed that the NYSGC had not responded to him, despite the commission sending Carter multiple letters informing him that he was, in fact, not suspended.

According to the complaint, Carter told investigators: “I think sometimes if you try to make a point by being funny, you can create more trouble.”

Carter labels gaming body ‘hazardous materials’

When informed by investigators that the envelopes required lab testing for hazardous materials, Carter retorted that the NYSGC had “been hazardous materials to his life,” the complaint said.

When advised that mailing such envelopes was a federal crime, Carter allegedly stated he didn’t think it through, and that “whatever, I sent, I guess it was revenge or trying to slow down their thinking.” Even after his warning, Carter allegedly mailed another letter to the NYSGC on January 28, 2021, which turned out to contain talcum powder.

maximum of five years in prison plus “one year of post-imprisonment supervised release”

Carter entered a plea of not guilty during an arraignment before US Magistrate Judge Christian Hummel, who released the accused with conditions. If convicted, according to the Times Union, Carter is looking at a maximum of five years in prison plus “one year of post-imprisonment supervised release”, and could also get hit with “far lesser penalties under federal sentencing guidelines.”