The United States Department of Justice has just filed a second amended civil complaint against Full Tilt Poker owners or “Insiders” Ray Bitar, Chris Ferguson, Rafe Furst, and Howard Lederer which includes forfeiture charges totaling $137 million.
The civil complaint states that proceeds obtained from illegal activities violated the federal Travel Act and are therefore subject to forfeiture. There is also probably cause to believe that property acquired by the defendants constitute or is traceable to property used in illegal gambling businesses.
The DoJ claims that $444 million was paid out to 23 owners of Full Tilt Poker while operating an unlawful gambling business that defrauded its customers.
According to the complaint, between 2006 and 2011, at least $44,314,997 of monies directly tied to criminal conduct was deposited into the Howard Lederer consulting account.
The DoJ detailed a history of financial distributions paid to the “Insiders” and as a result, is seeking the following forfeiture amounts from them:
$42.5 million from Howard Lederer
$42 million from Chris Ferguson
$40.8 million from Ray Bitar
$11.7 million from Rafe Furst
Howard Lederer used the proceeds for personal gain including funding personal bank accounts, retirement funds, purchase real estate, and purchase cars that included a 2008 Maserati, 1965 Shelby Cobra and four Audis.
The civil complaint also mentions the purchase of two California homes by Ray Bitar. No specific expenditure details were listed for the other two defendants Ferguson and Furst.
Just two weeks ago, attorneys for the Full Tilt Poker defendants attempted to include a recent ruling (the DiCristina case) by a federal New York judge Weinstein that poker is predominantly a game of skill and not gambling as defined by IGBA with the hopes that it would dismiss one of the IGBA-related charges against the defendants in the Black Friday case.