The Southern District of New York Court announced on Nov 30 that it has granted extensions to online poker rooms Absolute Poker, PokerStars, and Full Tilt Poker to respond to certain amendments to the federal complaint against them filed on September 21 this year.
According to these amendments, the executive officers and board of directors of Full Tilt Poker, including Howard Lederer, CEO Ray Bitar, Rafe Furst, and Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, are guilty of a global Ponzi scheme, via which they cheated players of millions of dollars. The previous complaint had indicted those associated with the online poker room of bank fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling.
According to Bharara, the US federal attorney, Full Tilt Poker was a massive Ponzi scheme that was operated at a global level and was not at all a legal online poker site. He further alleged that executive officers of Full Tilt Poker used player deposits to fund their own lavish lifestyles and that they lied to public and players alike regarding the safety and security of the funds deposited.
Three separate copies of Stipulation and Orders were filed on November 29, one for each company indicted, according to which the companies were given extensions till January 2, 2012 to respond to the amended complaint filed against them. The companies had to actually respond to the amendments by November 30, but owing to the recent moves made by Rafe Furst and Howard Lederer, the extensions were granted.
On Nov 28, the Southern District of New York Court announced that Rafe Furst and Howard Lederer had invoked Rule G(5) of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty and Maritime Claims to claim the funds in various bank accounts seized by the federal government. Chris Ferguson and Ray Bitar had already done the same.
A copy of the Stipulation and Order can be accessed at Full Tilt Poker. It states: “Full Tilt is in settlement discussions with the United States and has requested additional time to answer or otherwise respond to the Amended Complaint; NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY STIPULATED AND AGREED by and between the United State of America, by its attorney Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Jason H. Cowley, Assistant United States Attorney, of counsel, and Full Tilt, by they attorney, Barry Boss, Esq., of Cozen O’Connor.”
The Stipulation and Order can also be viewed at the respective websites of PokerStars and Absolute Poker too.