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Full Tilt a ‘Ponzi scheme’

The US Department of Justice has accused Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Ray Bitar and Rafe Furst of being the principles in a money laundering plot which acted like a ‘global ponzi scheme’.

According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S Attorney Preet Bharara filed a motion earlier this week amending its civil complaint against Full Tilt Poker. The amendment names Ferguson, Ledered, Bitar and Furst as participants in a scheme which paid out $444 million to the owners of full tilt while neglecting players’ interests.

The amendment alleges that in addition to operating ‘an unlawful gambling business, bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering’, Full Tilt ‘ defrauded its poker players by misrepresenting to players that funds deposited into their online player accounts were secure and segregated from operating funds, while at the same time using player funds to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to Full Tilt Poker owners.’

‘Insiders lined their own pockets with funds picked from the pockets of their most loyal customers while blithely lying to both players and the public alike about the safety and security of the money deposited with the company,’ added Bhahara.

According to the Wall Street Journal article, the DoJ is seeking new penalties for each defendant to the tune of $42 million for Lederer, $25 million for Ferguson, $12 million for Furst and $41 million for Bitar. The astronomical figures are related to the percentage of their ownership in the company when the fraud was committed.

The news compounds a difficult week for Full Tilt. With the AGCC hearing into their operator’s license dragging on, the Hendon Mob pulling out of their sponsorship deal and news that hundreds of employees at its Dublin base will lose their jobs, it seems the issues that have dogged the company since Black Friday show no signs of abating.

For more on the Wall Street Journal article click here

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Categories: Online Poker
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