US Attorneys Call Full Tilt Poker a Ponzi Scheme
Full Tilt Poker has much more to be worried about since it was indicted on charges of money laundering, fraud and violating gambling laws last April.
Yesterday, the U.S. Department Of Justice alleged FTP was operating as a global Ponzi scheme—a term that’s become as bad as the f-word since we all learned the name Bernie Madoff. Now, FTP is likely longing for the recent days when losing its license was the worst of its troubles.
Indictments Against FTP
Preet Bharara is a U.S. attorney assigned to the Full Tilt Poker case. He alleges that FTP lied to players by saying their funds were in a secure place and available for withdrawal at anytime. But Bharara says instead of this being the case, FTP took over $440 million worth of players’ earnings and handed them to its executives and board members. Bharara also alleges that Full Tilt didn’t even have enough cash on hand to make the payouts.
The Justice Department is taking out the big guns. Lawmakers are pursuing money laundering charges against Full Tilt Poker, and are also seeking to seize its earnings as proceeds of a corrupt enterprise. Reporters have tried getting in touch with Full Tilt’s attorneys, but not surprisingly, they weren’t available for comment.
An interesting twist to this case is that charges were also issued against professional poker players Howard Lederer and Christopher Ferguson. Lederer and Ferguson both had links to Full Tilt Poker on their own sites and were paid tens of millions of dollars from Full Tilt, although other players were owed $390 million.
Bharara: On A Mission
Later in his statement issued Tuesday, Bharara continued his crusade against FTP. He insists Full Tilt is “not a legitimate company, but a global Ponzi scheme.” Bahara shows his disgust for the company for stealing from its customers, going so far as to say they “picked from the pockets of their most loyal customers.”
A piece by CNN called Bharara the “enforcer of Wall St.” Bharara says the company didn’t learn its lesson when it faced the indictments back in April and argues, “This scheme continued even after the original complaint was filed.”
Bharara is going after FTP like a pissed off Rambo and any players who feel cheated aren’t likely to ask him to back down anytime soon.
Do you think FTP was really a Ponzi scheme? Share your thoughts in the forums.