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Full Tilt Poker Was A Multi-Million Dollar Ponzi Scheme

by: JamieD On  Wednesday, September 21, 2011

chris jesus ferguson

Earlier in the year Full Tilt Poker, Pokerstars and Absolute Poker were indicted for fraud.  Now it appears as though Full Tilt Poker has even more problems on their hands, as federal prosecutors are claiming that the internet poker company was “not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme.”

In addition to cheating U.S. banks, prosecutors found that Full Tilt Poker has cheated its players out of hundreds of millions of dollars.  Over the course of four years, they have used $444 million in players money to pay their owners ridiculous sums of money.

The company claims that the money in a player’s account was protected and would not be touched, however, the investigation found that the company would routinely use player money to cover their own finances and pay out other players.  According to reports, Raymond Bitar, a top executive at Full Tilt, received $41 million, while part owners and well known poker players Christopher Ferguson and Howard Lederer received $87.5 million and $42 million, respectively.  Meanwhile, the company reportedly only had $60 million in the bank to cover the $390 million it owed its players in March.  Full Tilt’s hope was that rather than cashing out, their players would simply keep that money in their account and eventually lose it.

I hope Lederer and Ferguson didn’t spend all of that money at the poker table, because they are probably going to need quite a bit of it for lawyer fees.

Hat Tip – [The Wall Street Journal]




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