Full Tilt Poker a Global Ponzi Scheme According to Prosecutors

20 September 2011

More bad news regarding Full Tilt Poker was released today in the form of an amendment to the civil law suit filed against the company. The amendment claims more than 20 owners and shareholders were paid up to $443 million.

This would include CEO Ray Bitar getting approximately $41 million, Howard Lederer approximately $42 million and Chris Ferguson $25 of a said $85 million allocated to him as “distributions” all the while the company “failed to protect players funds as promised” according to prosecutors.

Preet Bharara US Attorney for the Southern District of New York described Full Tilt in a statement as “Not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme.”

According to page 63 of the filing which you can read here in its entirety:

 Full Tilt Poker not only operated an unlawful gambling business and committed the bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering as described above, but also defrauded its poker players by paying out hundreds of millions of dollars of player funds to Full Tilt Poker owners while misrepresenting to players that funds credited to their online player accounts were secure and segregated from operating funds.

In fact, Full Tilt Poker did not segregate player funds from operating funds and did not keep player funds secure and available for withdrawal. Full Tilt Poker used player funds, among other things, to maintain a steady flow of payments to its owners, totaling more than $443 million over the last four years, despite the fact that Full Tilt Poker did not have sufficient funds to repay its players.

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