DOJ amends civil complaint against FT owners

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Sep 13, 2012 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

Last week Howard Lederer and his legal team were trying to get the civil charges filed in the aftermath of Black Friday dismissed (a move that was denied by the court), and now the DOJ has decided to step-up its pursuit of Lederer and the other Full Tilt Poker Board of Directors’ members, filing an amended civil complaint targeting their cash and property.

While it’s doubtful that Lederer’s attempt to have the charges dismissed based on the recent “Poker is skill” ruling, the amended complaint sheds quite a bit of detail on Lederer and Bitar’s assets, while being a little more vague when it comes to the other two Board of Directors’ members, Rafe Furst and Chris Ferguson.

Listed in the second amended civil complaint were assets of Howard Lederer totaling some $42.5 million, including a $10 million home in Las Vegas and other properties, as well as a slew of other assets ranging from bank accounts to luxury cars (apparently Mr. Lederer is a car guy, with a couple of Audi’s, a Maserati and even a 2010 version of the classic 1965 Shelby Cobra parked in the garage!), and even his 401k retirement fund was listed in the complaint.

Bitar’s assets weren’t quite as eye-catching, totaling a few six-figure properties and a strip-mall type property in California, but in all the DOJ is seeking $40.8 million in forfeitures from Bitar, which suggests most of Bitar’s assets were kept liquid.

The DOJ is looking for a similar number from Ferguson, and about a quarter of the amount from Rafe Furst:

* Raymond Bitar – $40.8 million

* Howard Lederer – $42.5 million

* Christopher Ferguson – $42 million

* Rafael Furst – $11.7 million

So, while it seems the DOJ has let Isai Scheinberg and PokerStars go back to their normal business (albeit about $1 billion lighter in the wallet) the Full Tilt Poker Board of Directors is still going to have to ante their pound of flesh before the DOJ puts Black Friday to bed –even though PokerStars is now in control of Full Tilt Poker.

The Full Tilt Poker Board of Directors doesn’t seem to be evading justice (these are civil complaints after all): Poker gossip has Lederer still in Las Vegas; Furst is going about his day-to-day life; Bitar is under house arrest in California as he awaits a court date for his criminal case; and the latest “rumor” I’ve heard is that Chris Ferguson is in Africa building a school.

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