A civil complaint has been filed against Dublin-based website, Full Tilt Poker. Players from the US and around the world lost $390 million that had been entrusted in company’s accounts.
Preet S. Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, told the New York Times “Full Tilt was not a legitimate poker company but a global Ponzi scheme.”
Prosecutors have found that the money, belonging to millions of online users, had been moved to the accounts of owners and management of Full Tilt, some of whom were among the most prominent poker players in the world.
This scheme was first discovered by US prosecutors this spring while they were investigating three poker sits, Full Tilt, Poker Stars and Absolute Poker, all based outside the US. In April the US Government barred American players from accessing these sites. They believed the three sites in question were violating fraud and money-laundering laws.
Unfortunately, before this date US players were betting hundreds of millions on the sites. Players on the sites would load up their personal, virtual online accounts in these virtual poker clubs and bet.
The three sites claimed that the player’s money was safe and that they could tap into or close their accounts down at any time.
When these sites were shutdown prosecutors arranged agreements with them and helped them to pay their players the money they were owed. However repayments from Full Tilt stopped completely.
Attorney’s discovered that this was because the board members of Full Tilt had tapped into these accounts to the tune of $440 million since April 2007.
The New York Times lists some of the biggest names in poker who profited from the site. These included Howard Lederer, nicknamed the Professor. He received payouts of $42 million. Chris Ferguson, nicknamed Jesus in the poker-playing got at least $25 million and was “owed” $60 million more according to the prosecutors.