Entries in Poker (2)


Poker Site Defends Business, Not a Ponzi Scheme

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The operators of online gambling site Full Tilt Poker, charged with running a $440-million Ponzi scheme by federal authorities, say what happened to them was simply mismanagement, not a scam.

"Banks fail for not having sufficient revenue to cover customer deposits all the time. No one refers to such failures as Ponzi schemes. And there was no Ponzi scheme here," said Jeff Ifrah, an attorney for Full Tilt Poker.

"Players were not investing in any company-run investment vehicle. Players were never promised any type of high-rate return. Players just wanted to play poker and the company offered that service," he said. Ifrah explained that in late 2010, the company suddenly found itself unable to meet the player withdrawal demand.

Full Tilt was shut down in April by federal authorities. "Full Tilt was not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme," Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement Wednesday.

The site told players their gambling accounts were secure and available for withdrawal at any time when in fact "Full Tilt Poker did not maintain funds sufficient to repay all players," Bharara said. The operation allegedly used player funds to pay board members and other owners more than $440 million since April 2007.

The complaint named board members Raymond Bitar, Howard Lederer, Christopher Ferguson and Rafael Furst as defendants.

"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," according to the DOJ statement.

Ifrah said the individuals added to the civil complaint will "certainly have comments on the allegations against them." If they received distributions at a time when the company was underwater, the individuals will need to defend whether the distributions are subject to seizure as the amended complaint alleges.

On April 15, 2011, the Justice Department filed a complaint for money laundering, fraud, and violating the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act against 11 individuals who ran PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


MLB Investigating Alex Rodriguez over Illegal Poker Allegations

Jason Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New York Yankees superstar third baseman Alex Rodriguez is under investigation by Major League Baseball for his alleged involvement in illegal underground poker games.

One the games were reportedly held at a Beverley Hills mansion where cocaine was present and violence ensued, according to one report. The allegations, stemming from a report in Star Magazine, indicate Rodriguez tried to distance himself from the fight which broke out after one of the players lost more than a half-million dollars and tried to refuse to pay up.

Rodriguez, who is currently sidelined after undergoing surgery on his right knee, was warned by the Yankees and Commissioner Bud Selig in 2005 to avoid involvement with gambling and underground poker clubs.

"We take this very seriously and have been investigating this matter since the initial allegation," MLB said in a statement released Wednesday. "As part of the investigation, the commissioner's office will interview Mr. Rodriguez."

Rodriguez, 36, could face a suspension from baseball if the league confirms the allegations.

Richard Rubenstein, a public relations representative for Rodriguez told ABC News on Thursday, “The story contains numerous factual inaccuracies and Alex looks forward to cooperating with MLB in their investigation.”

Incidentally, the high stakes gaming ring to which A-Rod is alleged to be involved also reportedly included Hollywood celebrities like Ben Affleck and Tobey Maguire.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio