Sports

Full-Tilt Poker's Massive Ponzi Scheme

| by Off The Record

So, do you gamble with Full Tilt Poker? Let’s hope not! You may or may not have heard that they are under a bit of heat. No, it has nothing to do with U.S. gambling regulations or anything like that. Nope, they flat out stole your money.

And world-famous poker talents Harold Lederer and Chris “Jesus” Ferguson are named in the lawsuit. Yep, it’s a full-on Ponzi scheme.

The suit contends that Full Tilt “defrauded players by misrepresenting that their funds on deposit in online gambling accounts were safe, secure, and available for withdrawal at any time.”

“In reality, Full Tilt Poker did not maintain funds sufficient to repay all players, and in addition, the company used player funds to pay board members and other owners more than $440 million since April 2007,” the complaint read.

And that’s a problem….why?

Federal prosecutors (and just a side note: if you have the Feds on your ass, you’re in deep manure. Just ask Michael Vick) are seeking money laundering penalties against Lederer and Jesus in addition to seeking the money back that they made in this scheme. The original complaint from earlier this year charged board member Raymond Bitar and ten more people with bank fraud, illegal gambling and money laundering offenses.

“Full Tilt was not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme,” said U.S. attorney Preet Bharara. “Full Tilt 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.”

Yeah, this could be a problem. These guys are in serious hot water. Like the kind of hot water that if found guilty, could lead to being in hot water while inside of a cell for a very long time.

“In order to maintain its false image of financial security, Full Tilt continued to credit player accounts without disclosing its inability to fund those credits,” the prosecutor said.”When players gambled with these phantom funds and lost to other players, a massive shortfall developed.”

If everyone had cashed out at the end of March, Full Tilt would have owed $390 million, despite having only $60 million in their bank account. The site is still up now, but it has a U.S. Department of Justice seal on it that makes you feel like you did something illegal just for logging on.

Now we’re eager to see what role Lederer and Ferguson really had. We care much less about the other scumbags.