DOJ says Full Tilt was a global Ponzi scheme

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said Tuesday that Full Tilt Poker is operating under a “Global Ponzi scheme” and that key owners, including poker experts Howard Leader and Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, have defrauded the site’s players of hundreds of millions of dollars.

According to a memorandum sent by Preet Barara, a U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, the Justice Department has filed a motion to amend the previous complaint against Full Tilt Poker to include “additional allegations, claims and defendants regarding Full Tilt Poker and its board’s fraudulent scheme regarding the misuse of funds.”

“Full Tilt was a global Ponzi scheme, not a legitimate poker company,” Barra said in a statement. “Full Tilt insiders lined up in their pockets with funds drawn from the pockets of their most loyal customers, but lied falsely to both players and the public about the safety and security of the money deposited.”

All owners of Full Tilt Poker – Leader, Ferguson, former CEO Ray Bitar, and Rafael “Rafe” Furst – are accused of distributing about $443 million to themselves and the company’s other owners. The amended complaint alleges Full Tilt mixed player and operating funds despite public claims of the site’s opposition.

The DOJ said by the end of March, Full Tilt Poker owed about $390 million to players around the world, including $150 million to U.S. players, but had less than $60 million in bank accounts.

“Full Tilt Poker allowed players to gamble and lose to other players with this fantastic money that Full Tilt Poker never really collected or owned,” DOJ said in a note. 온라인카지노

Reader, Ferguson, and First were not included in the original Apr. 15 indictment against the founders of Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, and Absolute Poker. The three sites were charged with bank fraud, money laundering, illegal gambling crimes, and violations of the Internet gambling enforcement law. All three sites stopped taking American players shortly after the indictment.

Rewarding players is a whole other matter. PokerStars paid more than $120 million to American players, and there was no significant delay in paying customers around the world. Full Tilt and Absolute Poker still owe players millions of dollars.

The amendment claims Lederer received $42 million in company funding personally, while Ferguson received over $85 million in dividends, but only about $25 million of that amount.

The unnamed Full Tilt Poker Pro received a distribution of at least $40 million while also receiving millions of dollars marked by loans from Full Tilt. More than $4 million of these loans have not been repaid.

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