The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York introduced an ammended complaint to the U.S. District Court yesterday and the 103 page document tells a story that Full Tilt players, still waiting to be repaid from â€˜Black Friday', donâ€™t want to hear.
The complaint outlines the fact that Full Tilt does not have enough money to pay its players, coming up hundreds of millions of dollars short. And this doesnâ€™t affect just U.S. players, this affects ALL of the customers who had accounts at Full Tilt on April 15 and those who have deposited since.
â€œAs of March 31, 2011, Full Tilt Poker owed approximately $390 million to players around the world, including approximately $150 million owed to players in the United States. At that time Full Tilt Poker had only approximately $60 million on deposit in its bank accounts. As of the filing of this Amended Complaint, Full Tilt Poker still owes players over $300 million.â€
The U.S. attorney is going after Poker Stars and Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet for the illegal gambling, wire and bank fraud, and money laundering but is also looking at Full Tilt for defrauding â€œits poker players by misrepresenting to players that funds deposited into their online player accounts were secure and segregated from operating funds, while at the same time using player funds to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to Full Tilt Poker owners.â€
Though players may be on the short end of the stick here, the U.S. government is looking to cash in AGAIN. As stated in the original complaint, they are looking for no less than $1.5 billion for the PokerStars entities; $1 billion for the Full Tilt Poker entities; and $500 million for the Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet Entities. They have also seized accounts from payment processors and the principals involved. Howard Lederer alone is on the hook for $41 million!
We doubt that the U.S. will facilitate and payouts to afflicted players. After all, when the U.S. Attorney General in St. Louis managed to get $41 million from BETonSPORTS founder Gary Kaplan, not a dime was returned to players, even though that amount would have made every single player whole and left millions in law enforcements' coffers. As we reported previously, the siezed funds were deemed â€˜proceeds from an illegal gambling enterpriseâ€™, not player funds.
However, there is a small ray of hope for Full Tilt players. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bhawawa said on a press release on the U.S. attorneyâ€™s website: "As the proposed Amended Complaint describes in detail, Full Tilt was not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme.â€ Perhaps players will get lucky one more time and get paid out something like Bernie Madoffâ€™s clients and other recent Ponzi scheme victims have.
Or the U.S. will help to stiff even more players. After all, according to the DoJ ALL Internet gambling is illegal, so why would victims of an Ponzi scheme based on an illegal business be entitled to any refunds? It took BETonSPORTS players 5 years to get 4.62 cents on the dollar. For sanityâ€™s sake, Full Tilt players should start thinking that any returned funds are found money.