There has been such a huge scandal surrounding the fact that Members of the Board of Tiltware lined their own pockets at the expense of fans who played at Full Tilt Poker (FTP), it really is about time that everything got sorted out now. Its seems that 2013 might be the year when everything falls into place, the Department of Justice are happy, and online gambling in the USA finally becomes legal. Well…one can only hope. At the centre of the FTP scandal have been Chris (Jesus) Ferguson, Howard Lederer, Ray Bitar and Rafe Furst – well mostly these players have been mentioned.
Rafe Furst has surrendered a Trust Fund held in a Swiss Bank Account (?), plus agreed to pay the DoJ about $150 000 in fines. Howard Lederer knew that the DoJ had set their sights on his mansion, and has managed to stave off the forfeiture of this piece of property by bargaining with the authorities to take something else instead. In fact he has pledged to them, the proceeds from the sale of a property in Twin Palms Circle Las Vegas, as well as traceable proceeds from the sale of his Kingsclear Court, Las Vegas, property. So that is two Las Vegas properties he is down, and there is only something like five to go.
He has also forfeited his 1965 Shelby Cobra , plus funds a Lloyds TSB International account located on the Isle of Man. We have no idea what the amount involved with this transaction is. There is also an additional retirement account which was arranged using FTP funds, and this too has gone to the feds.
Apparently these monetary amount, plus those being surrendered by Raef Furst are going directly into the $184 (or thereabouts) owed to US online poker players; if and when they are able to process their claims with the DoJ. One would however assume that some of the funds paid to them in the FTP sale to PokerStars would have been earmarked for this process. However, we don’t know the finer details of the sale, only how many millions it cost.
It appears that only Ray Bitar and Chris Fergusson have to settle with the DoJ, which might be a faster process now that these two gamblers have fessed up and settled. It certainly goes to show that big money can keep you out of jail, as most of the deals made with the DoJ have entailed, forfeiture of vast amounts of money to admit no wrong-doing, and avoid any future prosecution. This is what PokerStars, Rafe Furst and Howard Lederer are all currently paying for. We suppose they have learned one thing from this – that crime doesn’t pay, but if you can pay, you can also get off the charges.
These charges included but were not limited to "conspiracy to commit bank, and or wire fraud, money laundering, as well as operating an illegal online gambling business." An amendment to the charges also accused these people of misrepresentation in that player funds were "safe and secure" both prior to and after Black Friday.