United States v. Pokerstars et al., 11 Civ. 2564 (LBS)
(Full Tilt Poker Information)
March 14, 2012—Selection of Claims Administrator. Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced yesterday that the United States has retained the Garden City Group (“GCG”) to serve as Claims Administrator to oversee the process of compensating eligible victims of the fraud committed by Full Tilt Poker against United States players that was set forth in both the civil money laundering and forfeiture action United States v. PokerStars, et al., and the indictment United States v. Bitar, et. al. GCG is a class action settlement and bankruptcy administration company that has provided comprehensive legal administration services for nearly three decades, including numerous complex administrations such as the Gulf Coast Claims Facility; the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damage Settlement; the Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation; the WorldCom Securities Litigation; and the IPO Securities Litigation. The victim claims process will begin shortly. Information about the claims administration will be posted on the dedicated website GCG has established in connection with the victim compensation process, www.FullTiltPokerClaims.com. Information is also available from the toll-free hotline number at (866) 250-2640.
November 20, 2012—Victim Update. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is evaluating applicants for the position of Claims Administrator to handle petitions for remission for U.S. victims of the alleged fraud that Full Tilt Poker committed relating to player funds. The United States Attorney’s Office expects that the Claims Administrator will be selected and begin work in January 2013.
July 31, 2012—Victim Compensation. As announced today, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has reached Court-approved settlements with Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars in the matter of United States v. PokerStars, et al., 11 Civ. 2564 (LBS). Funds generated from these settlements will be used to fund a petition and remission process for U.S. victims of the alleged fraud that Full Tilt Poker committed relating to player funds. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will post details within the upcoming weeks regarding how U.S. victims can submit such a petition.
September 29, 2011--After the amended complaint in United States v. Pokerstars et al., 11 Civ. 2564 (LBS), was filed on September 22, 2011, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York received a number of new inquiries from individuals regarding the recovery of their funds from Full Tilt Poker.
By way of background, in April of 2011, this Office entered into a domain-name use agreement with Full Tilt Poker. That agreement, among other things, expressly authorized Full Tilt Poker to return player funds to players. However, as the September 22 amended complaint alleges, Full Tilt Poker did not in fact have player funds on hand to return to players. Instead, the amended complaint alleges that Full Tilt Poker had, among other things, (a) transferred significant amounts of players’ real money deposits to principals of the company, while (b) allowing many players to continue to gamble, and “win” and “lose,” with phantom credits in their player accounts.
At this time, this Office, together with the FBI and other agencies, is attempting to trace, secure and forfeit as much as possible of the funds derived from operation of the fraud committed by Full Tilt Poker and its board members that is alleged in the amended complaint. The Office is also attempting to obtain and examine the books and records of Full Tilt Poker. Many of those books and records are kept overseas. The return of forfeited funds to victims of the alleged fraud may be possible, but will depend on several factors, including the successful conclusion of the litigation, the amount of funds seized and ordered forfeited by the court, and compliance with other procedures the Department of Justice may eventually establish regarding return of forfeited funds to victims who lost money as a result of the alleged fraudulent conduct.
We cannot predict the duration of proceedings in this case, other than to state that they will last for many months at the least. We will apprise victims of the alleged fraud of future developments as appropriate. General information regarding what is known as “remission” (i.e., return to victims) of funds that have been seized and forfeited is set forth in Department of Justice regulations found at 28 C.F.R. Part 9.