Players file new Class Action Lawsuit vs Full Tilt

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Apr 13, 2012 Posted in Legal Poker News, US Poker News | No Comments »

With the anniversary of Black Friday (April 15, 2011) mere days away, a group of poker players has filed a class action lawsuit against Full Tilt Poker owners and executives in Nevada. The players which include Todd Terry, Steve Segal, Nick Hammer and Robin Hougdahl, are seeking $150 million, the amount estimated that Full Tilt poker owes US players.

After a judge dismissed their initial filing, which was filed in New York last year and dismissed this January, on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction the group of poker players changed their allegations from racketeering because of an alleged pattern of bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering to “conversion”. They also filed the new suit in Nevada, in an effort to use “diversity jurisdiction” and “venue” stating that Howard Lederer is a resident of Nevada and Chris Ferguson has conducted “substantial business” in the state. The lawsuit also states that Nevada courts would have jurisdiction over the matter ”because many of the wrongs and acts complained of herein were contemplated and executed by defendants in this district.”

According to Vegasinc.com, the new Class Action Suit is jumping on the government’s added indictments of Howard Lederer, Rafe Furst, and Chris Ferguson, and the government’s assertion that Full Tilt Poker was acting as a Ponzi scheme. The lawsuit asserts that Full Tilt Poker “wrongfully denied access to some $150 million in their Full Tilt accounts because of the actions of Lederer and Ferguson.”

The group filing the lawsuit on behalf of Full Tilt poker players cite the evidence revealed by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, claiming Lederer received over $40 million in dividend payouts, Furst more than $11 million, Full Tilt CEO Raymond Bitar over $40 million, and Chris Ferguson over $80 million. The suit goes on to claim:

”Additionally, defendants approved distributions and loans to the other owners of Full Tilt Poker from funds directly traceable to the player accounts. The distributions and loans to Lederer, Ferguson and the other Full Tilt Poker owners were from intermingled funds containing monies from the player accounts.”

There has been a revival of interest in the Black Friday cases as we approach the one-year anniversary, and one of the most painful reminders is the $300 million ($150 million belonging to US players and $150 million belonging to players from other parts of the world) that Full Tilt Poker has taken out of the poker economy for a year now.

Absolute Poker and UB Poker are estimated to owe players a further $60 million, with that company headed off to liquidation. Only PokerStars has reimbursed their players, which they finished within weeks of Black Friday, and the site remains the #1 online poker site in the world.

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