We first reported back in April about online poker site, Full Tilt Poker, which got shut down by federal authorities due to its illegal gambling capabilities. We’re finding out today that the U.S. Justice Department accused poker celebrities and Full Tilt owners Howard Lederer and Christopher Ferguson and other executives of defrauding poker players on the poker website out of more than $300 million.
The U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of NY filed a motion Tuesday morning to amend an earlier civil complaint to allege that the directors operated a Ponzi scheme that allowed the company to pay out $444 million to themselves and other owners/famous poker players. The Wall Street Journal says that the government alleges that Full Tilt executives misrepresented to the website’s players that the money the company was supposed to be holding in players’ accounts was safely held when it was actually being used for other purposes like owner profits.
Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District says Full Tilt Poker “cheated and abused its own players to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars" and that "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."
Stay posted for any updates on this story.