DOJ Says Return of Player Funds “May Be Possible”

Calls Full Tilt players victims, invites them to play with the pros-ecutor

by , Sep 30, 2011 | 7:16 am

If you are out real American dollars in the Full Tilt Poker collapse, the US government is apparently your friend. That’s the message of Preet Bharara and the Department of Justice, who put out a statement to get those dumfugkers from 2+2 to stop hassling us clarify the status of player accounts in light of revelations about Full Tilt’s insolvency.

In it they spell out a process they are going through to get money from anyone who mighta suckled from the Full Tilt mother-teat, and give an indefinite timeline (months at a minimum) to tell all those thinking this could be the “final chapter”, “dude, we’re just getting started, here.”

The full DOJ statement is below, which ends with a reminder about 28 C.F.R. Part 9, the regulation that binds them.

Meanwhile, not sure if this is a good, bad, or meh-for-poker … but the DOJ is coming under scrutiny over seized assets. Just this month — after an investigation sparked by a junior prosecutor in the Southern District of New York concerned about plausible shenanigans in the remission of Bernie Madoff loot — the Justice Department’s own Inspector General cited serious deficiencies in the US Marshals’ handling of seized assets. The OIG wrote a report that reads kinda like a Full Tilt indictment … at a time when they are getting flack (from both the left and the right) for essentially abusing some 400 laws allowing them to take money and other assets from people who may or may not face criminal charges.

United States v. Pokerstars et al., 11 Civ. 2564 (LBS) (Full Tilt Poker information)

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.