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Full Tilt Poker Ship Sinking Faster Than The Titanic: Who’s Next?

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Sep/21/2011
Full Tilt Poker

Yesterday’s announcement by the US Attorney’s Office out of the Southern District of New York alleging Full Tilt Poker to be a “massive ponzi scheme” has sent shock waves throughout the online poker community. 

Professional poker player Partho Dotto has been in close contact with the US Attorney’s Office.  He has been offering updates on his Facebook page. 

“I spoke to the Southern District of New York.  They said right now this is only a civil case and the investigations are still ongoing. Based on yesterday's complaint, Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson will not be arrested. Ms. Davidson, the spokesperson for the Southern District declined to comment on whether any criminal charges will be brought against the poker pros in the future as this is STILL an ongoing investigation. Who is NEXT?”

A number of other team Full Tilt Poker pros are believed to have held stakes in the company, which was shut down June 29. 

The complaint alleges that Full Tilt Poker “was not a legitimate poker company but a global Ponzi scheme.”

On April 15, the US Justice Department indicted the co-founders of three online poker companies – Full Tilt, UB.com and PokerStars – charging them with money laundering and bank fraud in connection with disguising online gambling transactions as dog food and golf balls through a financially strapped Utah-based bank. 

Tuesday’s amended complaint reportedly alludes to poker pro Phil Ivey as “Player Owner 1”, who received over $40 million and 78,000 as ownership revenues in addition to several million dollars as part of a loan.  Ivey reportedly never paid back $4.4 million owed to FTP. 

Mr. Dotto noted:  “The Southern District said that all the properties, bank lockers and bank accounts of Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer are subject to forfeiture. She (Ms. Davidson) said (the) FBI is still investigating and this is still an ONGOING INVESTIGATION. She stressed again on this being an ONGOING INVESTIGATION when I asked why no criminal charges are being brought against the poker pros.

He added:  “The Southern District of New York said that the massive internal fraud by Full tilt poker came to light after because of sustained investigation in order to maintain enforcement. At one point Howard Lederer said to it board member they cannot even pay $6 million to its players. Raymond Bitar in an internal email intercepted by the FBI further said they cannot even handle a 5 Million Payout.”

On Wednesday, talks resumed between the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) and Full Tilt Poker representatives to determine the fate of the company following the AGCC’s yanking of its license on June 29. 

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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