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Poker 'Ponzi Scheme' Bagged $440 Million, Says DOJ

Federal prosecutors Tuesday accused Full Tilt Poker, an online gambling operation, of running a global Ponzi scheme that siphoned $444 million from player accounts to pay off celebrity board members and cover business expenses.

Prosecutors say that Full Tilt in March owed players 6.5 times the amount of cash held by the company.

The Justice Department is pursuing a number of gambling sites accused of operating in violation of U.S. law, but this charge raises the stakes, so to speak. — PZS

AP via The Washington Post:

In its revised lawsuit against Full Tilt, Justice Department lawyers said that even though the company had assured players that those accounts “are segregated and held separately from our operating accounts,” they were actually drained regularly for other purposes, including paying the company’s owners and board members.

[Top Full Tilt executive Raymond] Bitar got $41 million and [professional poker player and board member Howard] Lederer got $42 million, the lawsuit said. [Professional poker player and board member Christopher] Ferguson was supposed to get $87.5 million, although he may have only received $25 million of that amount so far, federal prosecutors claimed.

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