Posts Tagged ‘DOJ’

November 14, 2013

Full Tilt Poker Remissions Inch Forward at Snail-mail Pace

Postcards reveal what remediators may or may not know about you

If you had cash on Full Tilt shortly before Black Friday, you’ve got until this weekend to inform government contractors that you’d like your money back, please. Check out what I got in the mail recently from the poker world’s new-good friends at Garden City Group, who are handling Full Tilt remissions on behalf of the DOJ, whom you may or may not recall earmarked nearly $200 million of PokerStars money for paying back Full Tilt player/ponzi victims.

FTPpostcard

Curious though, their effort to contact me, as my email has been the same since I signed up in 2004 … and I’m almost certain I maintained a negative balance on Tilt ever since I stopped playing there in like ’09. (According to my records I was in the red for about $300, but hey, I’m standing in solidarity with Erick Lindgren; I called “not paying!”)

Presuming I didn’t unknowingly luckbox into some sorta secret errant money transfer, I think this postcard campaign reveals a GCG serious about covering various asses should someone and their lawyer(s) can come back later and claim ignorance when trying to get a piece of any FTP payout pie. Otherwise you gotta wonder … they didn’t have my email address — the one that just about everybody remotely connected to poker has? (You know, the one that has been the same ever since signing up with Full Tilt in ’04?) And yet they were able to track me down through a postal address that didn’t even exist for me or Pokerati until after Black Friday? It wasn’t anything I ever provided to Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, Garden City Group, nor the DOJ, as far as I know. In fact, I could be wrong here, but I think the only federal agency that would have this address for me is the IRS.

Hmm … makes you wonder what kinda sit-n-gos the NSA really might be playing!

If you haven’t yet submitted your online poker DNA to Uncle Sam and you still want a chance at seeing your Full Tilt bankroll ever again, visit http://fulltiltpokerclaims.com/.

Posted by at 7:25 pm

March 14, 2013

Vegas Grinders: Cupcake Remission Stakes

+ keeping Howard Lederer away from the friendliest 5/10 NL game in town

VegasGrinderImage
All I want is for you to love me like a Facebook friend.

We’re not just a 1-2 or 1-3-trick pony at Vegas Grinders … and to prove it we invite anti-Howard Lederer petitioner and middleweight grinder thug Nick diVella to report from the 5/10 and 10/20 NL tables at Aria, Bellagio, Wynn, and (sometimes) Venetian … just as we get word that the DOJ has launched a website to facilitate the repatriation of Full Tilt bankrolls.

Also … the Caesars Megabeat Jackpot hits at Planet Hollywood for $672k, paying off not just quad Queens < Queen-high straight flush, but also spreading a cool $2k around to 219 players in eight different poker rooms across Nevada. (Woot! It’s a casino party!) … But (sigh) what’s the point, really, when even Jerry Yang’s WSOP bracelet can end up on the auction block in an effort to pay off the IRS? With Dave boldly (and wrongly) folding pocket kings, good thing at least one of us finally took down a tournament FTW. Sure, it was just a little $45 tourney at the Stratosphere, but hey, don’t tell that to the 50 semi-grizzled players I bettered!

Vegas Grinders 1.5

Posted by at 4:12 pm

December 20, 2012

Lederer Settles with DOJ

Agreement to forfeit > $1.5 million over 3 years could be his biggest win

Howard LedererPoker superstar Howard Lederer, facing a $42.5 million civil lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice over his leadership role with a tarnished online gambling company, agreed Tuesday to settle the case, forfeiting more than $2.5 million in cash and assets.

In a stipulated settlement filed at the U.S. District Court in New York City, Lederer, once one of the most revered players on the poker circuit, did not admit to any wrong-doing in the case that stemmed from the April 2011 crackdown by federal prosecutors on illegal Internet poker operations.

However, Lederer, 49, who was nicknamed “The Professor,” by the poker world, agreed to a two-part money settlement with the government, which includes a civil money-laundering penalty of $1.25 million and $168,000 that will be liquidated from various bank accounts.

Lederer agreed to pay the penalty in two installments, due 18 months and 36 months from now. The penalties are secured by Lederer’s two Las Vegas homes in the ultra-exclusive The Ridges area of Summerlin.

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November 20, 2012

DOJ Offers Glimpse of Payback Timeline for FTP Hostages

@TheJusticeDept says: We'll have a Full Tilt claims administrator by January

When it comes to federal relief efforts, the fate of America’s online poker money supply surely doesn’t rise to the level of import seen with Superstorm Sandy … but we are all victims (well you are, not me) … and accordingly the DOJ has responded to poker player beefs about Full Tilt monies in limbo

http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/vw_cases/pokerstars.html

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.

Of course now that we can see everything about the remission process will be “by the book,” we know it will all be handled, er … by the book … which, frankly, may or may not lead to negative results for many of you (not me).

But we’ll see. Surely the DOJ understands how good it would be (for soooo many people!) if everyone could get paid back in time for the 2013 WSOP.

Posted by at 3:25 pm

November 14, 2012

Instapoker

Schwartz and Carroll win, Hellmuth sleeps through the WPT

James Carroll
Photo: Heartland Poker Tour


Today’s Boxscore

Noah Schwartz $402,970 – WPT bestbet Jacksonville
James Carroll $104,253 – HPT Palms Las Vegas


It was a fine weekend for a couple of young poker veterans at tour stops swapping locations. The World Poker Tour not-televised event was playing a small room in Florida while the televised Heartland Poker Tour made it’s return to the Palms in Las Vegas. James Carroll shortstacked his way to the final table and worked his way up the board until he was the last player at the table. The HPT had a nice uptick since their last Vegas event, even after professional nit-monster Allen Kessler tweaked the structure.

Noah Schwartz began the WPT final table in Jacksonville in a different position than Carroll, holding more than half the chips in play at the 6-handed final table. He was playing his 4th World Poker Tour final table, the most recent being a 4th place finish at the LAPC, but nothing stopped him from picking up the elusive title to boost him near $3,000,000 in career earnings. Other notables at the final table included Lee Markholt, Hans Winzeler, and Byron Kaverman.

Link Dump

Tweet(s) of the Day – PASSION TO WIN! (except in cases where I degen it up, lose some money, and slep through it)

Reid/Kyl in the Lame Duck: What You Need to Know – Chris Grove at PokerFuse has a nice little writeup about the online poker bill over the next few months, none of it terribly positive.

One of China’s most ingenious bribery schemes: the professional poker loser – You mean to tell me poker in China isn’t completely on the up and up? Using the game as a convenient way to bribe corrupt officials. h/t Otis.

Co-CEO Of Nevada Online Poker Applicant Questioned By Belgian Authorities – Norbert Teufelberger (Norbert!) went to Belgium for a responsible gaming convention and ended up having a nice conversation with the authorities of bwin.Party business.

DOJ, PPA Meet to Address Remission Timeline, Player Points – In case you missed it yesterday, Dan posted a statement from the PPA after they met with the DOJ about Full Tilt U.S. player accounts.

The Final Table – Episode 6 – The last episode of an excellently produced series of web videos about Russell Thomas preparing for the WSOP Main Event final table.

Posted by at 10:00 am

November 13, 2012

DOJ, PPA Meet to Address Remission Timeline, Player Points

Full Tilt repayments still "a long way away"

The Poker Players Alliance’s legal team met with the DOJ earlier today in Washington DC for a status update on player repayments, and perhaps do a little lobbying on behalf of Full Tilt player points that could and should maybe someday count for something. Overall, it wasn’t very good news for players … particularly those who might be banking on the repatriation of online bankrolls at some point in 2012.

So how long will it be?

Considering that the DOJ hasn’t even set a deadline yet for when to hire an administrator to handle the Full Tilt repayment process … well, you can understand the harsh reality players face working with the government.

Read below for a report from PPA Executive Director John Pappas about what the DOJ had to say.

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Posted by at 7:09 pm

October 11, 2012

New Full Tilt to US Players: Talk to the DOJ

Eff you effin FTP mother effers government F-heads, cash-strapped players respond

Emails apparently have gone out to Full Tilt’s American player base — their first direct contact with customers for I don’t know how long. And even though that’s a clear sign things are moving forward toward resolution, redemption may still be a way’s away … or at least will probably require a lot more paperwork.

(Now stop bothering us already!)

Dear [player id],

As a player on Full Tilt Poker, you may be aware of the recent settlement reached with the U.S. Department of Justice (the “DOJ”).

Full Tilt Poker will not offer real money online poker in the U.S. until it is permissible to do so under relevant law.

In relation to your account balance, you will have the opportunity to file petition with the DOJ through a remission process which will be administrated by the DOJ.

In light of the above, only play chip games will be available to Full Tilt Poker players in the U.S. following re-launch, in the first week of November, 2012. Your Full Tilt Points balance will remain intact in your account.

Please note that we are unable to answer queries in relation to your funds – all such questions should be directed to the DOJ in accordance with the procedure to be defined by them.

Please retain this email for your records.

Sincerely,

Full Tilt Poker

Posted by at 1:38 pm

September 13, 2012

Instapoker

Chris Ferguson Wins and then Chris Ferguson Loses

Ole Schemion
Photo: Partouche Poker


Ole Schemion €1,172,850 – Partouche Poker Tour Main Event
Chris Ferguson £87,640 – UKIPT Newcastle Main Event
Mark Edwards $107,730 – WPT Regional Jacksonville
David Benyamine €94,050 – WPT Rendez-Vous à Paris PLO


Chris Ferguson wins a poker tournament! Ridiculous use of an exclamation point (with apologies to Jess Welman) and it wasn’t the same Chris Ferguson who is currently under indictment by the Department of Justice. But it did give a small moment of humor during a time when there are few remotely chuckle-worthy things going on in the world of poker.

Chris “Not Jesus” Ferguson won the UKIPT Newcastle Main Event at the same time German Ole Schemion was busy winning the absolutely final Partouche Poker Tour Main Event. Schemion picked up €1,172,850 for his victory and defeated some of the hottest pros in the world right now including Dan Smith’s Nubs and Dan O’Brien. It was an unfortunate way to end a tour which had become a popular destination and was drawing many top players from the States.

In other news, the WSOP announced the ten finalists for the 2012 Poker Hall of Fame class. There are six new names on the list with four returning from last year in Scotty Nguyen, Jenn Harman, John Juanda, and Tom McEvoy. Two great new additions to the nomination list include a couple of top non-American players with Chris Bjorin and Thor Hansen. Ballots are being sent out to voters with results being reported at the beginning of October and the ceremony during the November Nine (refuse to call it October Nine) ceremonies.

You can check out the full list on the link above.

Link Dump

Tweet of the Day – Doyle Brunson voiced his Hall of Fame support for old time gambler Brian “Sailor” Roberts as well as Juanda, Harman, and Drache

DOJ Files Second Amended Complaint; Alleges Lederer Funded Assets with Unlawful Proceeds – Looks like the DoJ isn’t quite done dropping the hammer on the FTP gang and would like a few dollars from them. A second amended complaint is looking for $137,000,000 in forfeitures from Lederer, Ferguson, Bitar, and Furst.

Reid poker bill would prohibit all interstate and intrastate online gambling except horse racing and online poker – QuadJacks has a nice breakdown of the Harry Reid/Jon Kyle online gaming bill floating around Congress. Interesting developments including States will need to Opt In instead of that being the default position. They also posted a transcript of the Reid/Kyl summary. (Can someone please teach the boys at QuadJacks how to write a goddamn headline?)

WCOOP Final Table Coverage – Since I’m writing about the out-spoken ones, QuadJacks has been getting some pretty decent traffic for their live WCOOP Final Table coverage online. There are few options for U.S. bound players to watch the World Championship of Online Poker but they are a good option.

WCOOP 2012: Inside the PokerStars Radio Studio – For a very entertaining listen during the WCOOP, you should check out PokerStars radio with the always jovial Joe Stapleton. Friend of the Pokerati Brad “Otis” Willis has a fun look behind the scenes.

PokerNews Weekly: Latest Tournament Winners, Partouche Controversy and WCOOP Radio – PokerNews Kristy Arnett and Sarah Grant discuss the latest poker developments.

Posted by at 1:00 pm

September 1, 2012

Is Online Poker’s Window of Opportunity Closing?

Casinos say Nevada jobs at risk without federal bill to validate intrastate regs

What seemed like a tremendous decision for the gaming industry nine months ago – the re-evaluation of the Federal Wire Act of 1961 – may not be so advantageous for Nevada unless Congress takes steps to enact Internet poker legislation.

A window of opportunity that could place Nevada at the center of the potential U.S. Internet gaming market is closing quickly, and some in the gaming industry worry that lack of federal action could cost the state tax revenues and casino customers, while making Nevada subservient to less-regulated states.

“There are different standards for gaming regulation in one state versus another,” Station Casinos Vice Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta said. “We know some companies will shop for the lowest common denominator. We could start seeing bets being taken away from Nevada.”

The U.S. Department of Justice on Dec. 23 reversed a 50-year-old interpretation of the Wire Act, saying the law covers only sports wagering. Legal experts said the decision frees individual states to let online operators offer poker and traditional casino games such as slot machines and blackjack if the play doesn’t cross state lines.

It’s been estimated that U.S. gamblers spent as much as $26 billion annually gambling online before federal prosecutors indicted the operators of three of the largest Internet poker websites in April 2011. Closing those sites, which had violated federal law by accepting wagers from the U.S., effectively walled Americans off from the online gaming universe.

Now, states dealing with tight budgets are looking at that huge, untapped Internet market and are increasingly open to allowing – and taxing – it. Lawmakers in several states are in various stages of adopting regulations to allow full-scale online gaming.

Several Nevada gaming companies are on the verge of offering in-state online poker, but they foresee trouble ahead if their market is limited only to players in the sparsely populated Silver State.

And not only are they concerned about missing out on poker profits, they fear gamblers who can play online at home won’t bother traveling to Las Vegas’s tourist-dependent resorts.

More…


August 29, 2012

Republicans Reaffirm Commitment to Abolishing Online Poker

GOP platform calls for end to abortion, gay marriage, internet sit-n-go's

Due to the terrific efforts of the entire poker community, we have seen some nice victories, including the Department of Justice’s revised interpretation of the scope of the Wire Act as not applicable to poker and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruling in the U.S. v DiCristina case that poker is a game of skill and is not illegal gambling under the Illegal Gambling Businesses Act. We clearly have the momentum in this fight.

Unfortunately, as the saying goes, for every two steps forward, we do have the occasional step back. The step back to which I am referring was delivered by the 2012 Republican Party Platform Committee. The just-released GOP platform contains a plank calling for a ban on online poker. Here’s the text, from page 32 in the section entitled Making the Internet Family-Friendly (view here):

“Millions of Americans suffer from problem or pathological gambling that can destroy families. We support the prohibition of gambling over the Internet and call for reversal of the Justice Department’s decision distorting the formerly accepted meaning of the Wire Act that could open the door to Internet betting.”

As we all know, the DoJ decision the plank calls for reversing is the very one that determined that the scope of the Wire Act does not include poker. Also, as we all know, our opponents are including poker in “gambling” activities they seek to ban. Some have even taken to calling the activity “poker gambling.”

It is unfortunate that the authors of the plank are at odds with many House Republicans who are leading the charge for licensed and regulated online poker, but it is even worse that they are so out of touch with the actual voters. Let’s all be sure to do our part through Election Day to ensure that all lawmakers understand where the people are on this important issue.
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Posted by at 11:19 am

August 22, 2012

Federal Court Rules Poker a Game of Skill, Not Illegal Gambling

Whoop-whoop! Update from the PPA

I have great news. Yesterday, a federal court — the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York — ruled that poker is a game of skill and is not illegal gambling under the Illegal Gambling Businesses Act (IGBA)!

PPA played a central role in the case of U.S. v DiCristina. In coordination with the defendant’s lawyer, PPA provided the arguments and briefs and extensive expert testimony. Lawyers representing PPA wrote the principal briefs and presented the principal oral arguments. Judge Jack Weinstein’s opinion relied heavily upon the information the PPA provided the court.

This was the first federal court decision on whether poker is a game of skill rather than gambling. In his ruling, Judge Weinstein said, “Neither the text of the IGBA nor its legislative history demonstrate that Congress designed the statute to cover all state gambling offenses. Nor does the definition of ‘gambling’ include games, such as poker, which are predominated by skill.”

I hope you will take a moment to read this historic decision and PPA’s amicus brief supporting the argument that poker is a game of skill (click here for both). I also urge you to check out the Associated Press coverage (here), as it summarizes everything nicely and provides great information on PPA’s involvement in this case on behalf of the poker community.

This decision reinforces to all of us that now is the time for Congress to enact a fair and reasonable regulatory model that protects players and provides for a stable market for online poker in the U.S.
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August 13, 2012

Instapoker

Big Lewbowski, Michele Clayborne Statement, and DOJ Job Hunting

Robbie Renehan
Photo: PokerStarsBlog.com


Today’s Boxscore

Robbie Renehan $147,877 – LAPT Colombia
Blake Barousse $15,757 – $365 NLH WSOP Circuit Biloxi
Elisa Burkett $15,449 – $580 NLH WSOP Circuit Biloxi
Travis Johnston $7,956 – $365 NLH WSOP Circuit Biloxi
Caufman Talley $29,743 – $365 NLH WSOP Circuit Biloxi


There’s something pretty cool about a guy winning a poker tournament wearing a Big Lebowski t-shirt. If you’re going to dress down for a final table, at least be interesting. Also cool is a guy in Ireland winning an LAPT package on the cheap, travelling to the safest city in the world (Medellin Columbia is a walk in the park, correct?), and boosting his career tournament earnings from $5,000 to $150,000.

The Dude abides.

Also starting is the next round of WSOP Circuit events with a series of tournaments at the IP in Biloxi, MS. Not to be confused with the IP in Las Vegas where you’re more likely to get stuck to the floor before you lose your bankroll. On top of the great food and music, Biloxi will offer 12 tournament including the $1,675 Main Event.

Link Dump

Exclusive: Michele Clayborne, Former Consulting Head of PR for Full Tilt Poker, Releases Statement – Part of her statement concerning FTPDoug: “Until this announcement, I too was not aware of this person’s identity”. Booshit. I knew she wasn’t FTPDoug but I would be damned shocked if she didn’t know who it was. There are plenty of stories about what a pain it was to deal with Clayborne and I have quite a few myself. Doubly painful since we were both collecting a paycheck from the same company.

Department Of Justice Looks For Aid With About 1.3 Million ‘Potential U.S. Victims’ Of Full Tilt Poker – CardPlayer reports the DOJ is looking for a third party processor to take care of the ~$139,000,000 of payments due former US players at Full Tilt Poker. They are saying potentially 1.3million possible “victims”.

Claims Administrator—Full Tilt Poker – Unemployed, the Department of Justice might have a spot for you. Double checking Michele Clayborne’s LinkedIn profile to see if she’s qualified.

If sports betting is so obviously beneficial to the sports leagues, why do they still oppose it? Insiders weigh in – Everybody from New Jersey to Washington state has taking their bats to the gaming industry and the boys at QuadJacks decided to take a look at why sports leagues oppose betting.

The Micros – The gang wants to take advantage of the PokerStars Full Tilt Poker buyout. For real, can someone please sponsor these guys again so we can get back to the episodes?


Be sure to check out our new sponsors at Face Up Gaming. Legal, subscription-based online poker with plenty of great prizes including cash, WSOP seats, and poker trips. Sign up with Bonus Code pokerati.

Posted by at 5:05 pm

August 10, 2012

Reaching out to the DOJ for Full Tilt Repayment

Update from the PPA

Last week, PPA shared the great news that the Justice Department approved the deal for PokerStars to purchase Full Tilt Poker. Through this deal, PokerStars provided funds to cover all player balances at Full Tilt Poker.

The DoJ is currently establishing the process by which we U.S. players will request and receive our money. PPA is at the forefront of advocating for our rights in this matter. PPA requested and was granted the opportunity by the DoJ to provide a recommended path for repayment of U.S. players. Needless to say, we asked for repayment of 100% of player balances. I hope everyone will take a moment to read this important letter to the DoJ (here).

PPA will continue this dialog with the DoJ. We are seeking a streamlined process for application for remission. We are also advocating for clear processes to address withdrawals that were deducted from balances but never sent, bounced withdrawal checks, unused tournament tokens, FTP points, Iron Man Medals, etc. Non-cash items will be toughest, but we will do our part to make the requests through the appropriate channels. PPA’s legal team will remain fully involved as the ‘voice of the player’ to ensure we are all heard throughout this process.

To aid all of us, as I mentioned last week PPA is gathering and posting the needed information on the reimbursement process in real time at http://theppa.org/repayment.

Posted by at 12:42 pm

August 2, 2012

Redemption and Remission Song

DOJ + Stars align: players share their feelings about bankroll promises

No surprise, QuadJacks was all over Tuesday’s news — as the story that originally put them on the map begins to come to a close some 15 months later. They did a series of quick, YouTubeable interviews throughout the day that you can listen to all together here. Was gonna highlight just a few, but by the time it was all said and done, I listened to the whole lot of them, well-hosted by Marco doing his best Frasier Crane of Poker.

Collectively they tell quite the narrative about a dramatic day’s impact across a representative patchwork of serious players who all had some sort of stake in the outcome. And while I’m loathe to do Zac and Marco’s work for them, here’s a rundown of what I spent my yesterday listening to (in the order I listened) instead of watching the Olympics even though Michael Phelps still plays poker.

Nolan Dalla – the WSOP media director speaking off-duty as he gets on various soapboxes to express anger at key Full Tilt figures and the “conspiracy of silence” among those (poker media included) who would rather cater to the poker masses’ desire for “jackass talk.”

Steve Preiss – Wicked Chops first told us about this story several months ago, and plenty of poker idiots out there didn’t believe it for a second — calling the deal “fiction” and “fantasy” while figuring WCP musta still been on tilt after the collapse of Epic Poker, which the consummate poker-insider indie-media op also reported ahead of anyone else. Here’s what Chops saw that others didn’t as the Stars-buys-Tilt deal emerged.

Jeff Ifrah – Ray Bitar attorney celebrates a “victory” as his client awaits trial in a California mansion and is still facing the rest of his life in prison for getting rich by lying to his customers about how awesome he and Full Tilt players were. But none of that matters because all Full Tilt ever wanted to do was clean up the mess that Bitar didn’t leave behind?

More…

Posted by at 2:05 pm

August 1, 2012

PokerStars, Justice Department Reach Settlement

$731 million enough to close proceedings for dominant online poker sites

Internet gaming giant PokerStars will forfeit $731 million to the U.S. government over the next three years to settle a criminal complaint with the Department of Justice, although the company admits no wrongdoing as alleged in the April 2011 “Black Friday” indictments.

Some of the settlement will be used to refund money owed to U.S. and foreign customers of the now defunct Full Tilt Poker, which was also named in the original indictments.

PokerStars, which refunded money it owed to American gamblers more than a year ago, will acquire the assets of Full Tilt and relaunch the gaming website in legal markets as a separate brand.

The settlement, announced separately Tuesday by Isle of Man-based PokerStars and the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, puts to rest many issues surrounding “Black Friday,” in which federal prosecutors cracked down on Internet poker in the United States, stopping three of the largest companies from taking wagers from gamblers in the United States.

PokerStars continues to operate legally in Europe and other markets where online gaming is regulated.

Under terms of the settlement, PokerStars can apply to offer Internet poker to U.S. customers if state or federal governments legalize the activity.

“We are delighted we have been able to put this matter behind us, and also secured our ability to operate in the United States of America whenever the regulations allow,” PokerStars Chairman Mark Scheinberg said in a statement. “The way we have operated our business since the U.S. Department of Justice brought its claim has underlined our credentials as a responsible online poker operator.”

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