The Southern District of New York court has granted an extension to Absolute Poker, PokerStars, and Full Tilt Poker to respond to the civil complaint filed against them by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

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According to the complaint, the executive officers of Full Tilt Poker, including players Howard Lederer, Rafe Furst, and Chris Ferguson and Ray Bitar, the chief executive officer, cheated Full Tilt Poker’s loyal players of millions of dollars and used these funds for their own lavish lifestyles.

A latest amendment to the civil complaint filed against Full Tilt Poker accuses the online poker room of being a global Ponzi scheme. A complaint was initially filed against the three poker rooms in April this year, indicting the trio on multiple counts of money laundering, illegal gambling, and bank fraud.

US attorney Bharara has stated that Full Tilt Poker was running an illegal online poker business in the US. He also stated that Full Tilt Poker’s directors and executive officers filled their own pockets with player funds and that they did not tell their players the entire truth regarding security issues.

The US federal government had filed three separate copies of the complaint against the three online poker rooms on Nov 20 and the companies were expected to file a response before Nov 30, but now the three have been granted an extension till Jan 2, 2012. The reason for the extension was certain legal papers filed by poker players Rafe Furst and Howard Lederer in the US court.

On Nov 28, Rafe Furst and Howard Lederer quoted the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty and Maritime Claims G(5), according to which they claimed funds confiscated by the DoJ. Shortly thereafter, Chris Ferguson and Ray Bitar also followed suit.

Ferguson has claimed funds in several frozen bank accounts and has mentioned that Vantage Ltd. and Kolyma Corporation AVV have rights to the funds seized by the DoJ. He has made a list of several bank accounts and has claimed a total of $98,276,540 from these accounts.

The Full Tilt Poker website has a copy of the Stipulation and Order of the New York district court, as per which the online poker room is conducting talks with the US federal government and requires an extension to file its response to the civil complaint filed by DoJ against it. Similar documents are also available at PokerStars and Absolute Poker.

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