Poker Star Steve Zolotow Tries to Recover Diamonds Seized by U.S. Customs
7/20/2011 4:33:52 AM Shira
Professional U.S. poker player Stephen Zolotow is attempting to reclaim diamonds seized from him eleven years ago by Customs officials at a Toronto airport.
In 2000, Zolotow allegedly failed to report the uncut diamonds valued at nearly $900,000 to U.S. Customs officials on a trip from Toronto to New York. The diamonds were sized by U.S Customs according to the Federal Court of Canada. Zolotow did not file an appeal within the designated 30 day timeframe, and the diamonds were turned over to Royal Canadian Mounted Police and subsequently sold for $250,000 (although they were valued for $866,000 by the RCMP). Zolotow is now attempting to recoup his losses from the seizure.
Zolotow, who has played the professional poker circuit since 1988, has accumulated over 30 wins in World Series of Poker tournaments and earned over $1.8 million in professional poker since 2009. He is also the owner of several bars in New York City.
A motion to the high court for the return of the diamonds was dismissed July 5 after a judge ruled that Zolotow had missed the appeals deadline. Judge Russell Zinn, who is presiding over the proceedings, has dismissed the case on the grounds that “absence of an allegation that the officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe that the Customs Act or regulations had been contravened in respect of the diamonds.”
“The forfeiture of the goods or the monies received in lieu thereof must be considered final,” Zinn also said.