Posts Tagged ‘DOJ’

DOJ Response to Black Friday Response: LOL

by , Nov 10, 2011 | 10:27 pm

The DOJ has laid out more of its case against Isai Scheinberg, Ray Bitar, et al — in a 58-page response to the response from two Black Friday indictees, payment processor Chad Elie and the Utah banker John Campos.



The People vs. Online Poker



Among other denials, Campos and Elie sought to get much of the case thrown out on the grounds that the UIGEA is a bad law and/or poker isn’t gambling. With the action back on the DOJ, Preet Bharara assistant Arlo Devlin Brown delivers some rather compelling legal composition (the best writing is in the footnotes, imho) that reads like a big STFU from SDNY … with a message of hey, better watch it or we could indict the whole damn poker industry!

I’m paraphrasing, obv … but here’s the full Government’s Response to Defendants’ Pre-Trial Motions. They purport to have a mountain of evidence ready for trial … and show a century’s worth of precedent to snuff out any hopes that poker people could actually win this case.

With the standard disclaimer of “I’m not a lawyer but …” some fascinating elements include:

More…


Full Tilt Exit Strategy Begins to Emerge

by , Nov 3, 2011 | 9:19 pm

Rock Paper Scissors? The last time a rich French dude came to New York to bail out the Americans was Rochambeau in 1781 — fewer than eight WSOPs before George Washington established the DOJ office currently trying to put the hurt on various Tiltboys.

Still trying to wrap my teeth around the latest chapter in the saga of the Rise and Fall of Full Tilt Poker, with the Bernard Tapie Groupe in France saying the DOJ has given them a thumbs up on the purchase of certain Full Tilt assets … with which they’ll supposedly be able to make-good with Full Tilt’s non-American players and resume non-American operations.

So if this is correct — and we can talk later why we presume more truth in this story than others before it — Preet Bharara and his top-ranked American prosecution office wouldn’t have to worry about the Euros … which would be good for the DOJ, I presume, because who needs to mess with the foreigners and the incredibly complex international litigation and trade wars they potentially bring … especially when the real prize Preet seeks is closer to $1 billion.

For a better understanding, be sure to check out Wendeen Eolis’s latest piece in Poker Player Newspaper — Decoding Full Tilt Poker – DOJ – Tapie Plans — which provides a much needed sobriety check and skillful reading between the lines. Even though she may not be on the frontlines like Subject:Poker, as a Manhattan legal consultant in her non-poker life, Eolis has been down to the battlefield a time or two … and seems to understand ways the Southern District of New York more intimately than most.

The Tapie deal does offer the first glimmers of light at the end of a long tunnel, but it seems American players might wanna hold off on calls for “ONE TIME!” lest they become self-fulfilling prophesies of disappointment and despair. Because for any justifiable exuberance over the likelihood that European and “rest of world” players might see PokerStars-style payouts before the end of 2011 … American players with online poker (bank?) accounts in limbo now know only that the DOJ will be looking at them separately in determining who’s a “victim” and who is Isildur1 who’s potentially a less deserving accomplice.


PPA Meets with DOJ re: Seized Player Funds

by , Oct 11, 2011 | 2:09 pm

The big news this week is PPA’s meeting with the Department of Justice regarding player funds locked up on Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and Ultimate Bet. Needless to say, this is at the forefront of the concerns of the membership and of the PPA, so I am pleased to report that your PPA has been proactive in pushing for restitution for our members.

From Executive Director John Pappas:

“We still have an open dialogue with [the DOJ] and look forward to more productive conversations down the road. We plan to follow up to make sure the DOJ gets a guarantee that players get restitution through any deal with new Full Tilt management.”

For more on this important story, please check out Poker Players Alliance Meets with DOJ Regarding Full Tilt Poker Player Funds –  Poker News (October 7, 2011).

In other news …


PPA on Full Tilt-Tapie Deal, DOJ Reminder about Player Funds


The big news last week, of course, was the signing of the acquisition agreement between Groupe Bernard Tapie and Full Tilt Poker. Player repayment is being promised by the parties involved. Here is a quote from a Washington Post article on the matter:

Full Tilt said the agreement includes a plan to repay balances of players worldwide who haven’t had access to their gambling funds since April.

Needless to say, it is my hope that we all get repaid in full as soon as possible. More specifically, it is my hope that the Justice Department will, once obtaining iron-clad guarantees of repayment from any party wishing to purchase Full Tilt Poker, work to fast-track settlement of all outstanding issues. As the DoJ has identified players as the victims in all of this, I expect they will welcome a settlement that addresses player restitution.

For more on this issue:





Ray Bitar Challenges the DOJ without a Lawyer?

by , Oct 3, 2011 | 10:10 am

nevada license plate notaryI gotta think representing himself pro se against the DOJ was not part of the original plan. But that’s the real story (imho) yet to be noted in Ray Bitar’s claims that he wants some of his property back (including two bank accounts in Pokerati’s old Dallas stomping grounds).

Have a look at the document. He filed the motion himself — “Verified Claim of Raymond Bitar, Pursuant to Rule G of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty and Maritime Claims” — with an Irish notary public to make it official.

I certainly don’t know the nuances of Rule G of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty and Maritime Claims, but it seems complex enough that an attorney might-should usually be filing this kinda thing. And the lack of legal counsel’s involvement in this civil matter raises plenty of questions about the financial status of Bitar … and maybe even the motivations of various comments by Full Tilt attorneys who may or may not be still be getting paid.

More…


Where is the Collective Outrage?

by , | 8:00 am

tom schneider political humor

Tom Schneider


OP-ED

Ed. Note:  Shortly after Tom wrote this piece, the AGCC revealed that some $330 million had been seized pre-Black Friday. I sent an email asking if this changed the math, to which Tom replied, “That’s almost all that they owed to players, just short $60 million which is purportedly what they had in the bank.  Makes my case even stronger.”


Just yesterday, I heard the news that the Department of Justice accused Full Tilt Poker of running a Ponzi scheme.  A Ponzi scheme is defined as a pyramid investment swindle in which supposed profits are paid to early investors from money actually invested by later participants.

I object your honor.  Taking money I deposit and distributing it to owners is no Ponzi scheme.  But wait, let’s look at some facts/guesses.

Had our politicians not passed a law that restricted financial institutions from transferring money to and from poker sites, all players would still have their money. 

In reviewing the DOJ complaint and other sources, the following information jumped out at me:

Money owed to players  ($390 million)
Cash on Hand, Seized or Frozen Cash, Deposits not Received From Players
Money seized by US Government $115 million
Deposits not received from players* $180 million
Money frozen by banks $42 million
Money in Full Tilt bank accounts $60 million
$397 million
Shortfall to pay account holders None/Zip/No Shortfall

More…


DOJ Says Return of Player Funds “May Be Possible”

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.

More…


Weekly Update from the PPA

by , Sep 23, 2011 | 3:34 pm

The big news this week was, of course, the amending of the Department of Justice’s online poker civil suit claiming that Full Tilt Poker was engaged in a “Ponzi scheme” that defrauded its players. Needless to say, this was a sad day for American poker players that underscored our need as players and enthusiasts for consumer protections.

I have spoken with many poker players who have been deeply affected by the failure of Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and Ultimate Bet to repay its players since Black Friday. While I have roughly five figures of my own money locked up on Full Tilt Poker, this is nothing compared to the heartbreaking stories I have heard from many of my fellow players. We all need to take a stand — for the present AND for the future.

You all received PPA’s update yesterday detailing how to contact the Justice Department’s Victims and Witness Services program. I encourage everyone affected by this to take a good look at both this program and at PPA’s legal analysis of the options available to individual players who have not been able to access their online poker funds.

PPA has worked to ensure that all proposed online poker legislation includes provisions for consumer protections even well before Black Friday. Needless to say, PPA will continue to push for these important provisions. We all deserve safe, licensed, accountable sites on which to play. I am glad the poker community is standing together, united in this fight for our rights.

Here are some actions we can take right now to continue to advocate for our rights. These take less than 60 seconds each!

 

More…


Online Poker, Ponzi Schemes, and Barcelona

by , | 2:38 am

J Todd returns from the Barcelona Affiliate Conference where he mingled with online gambling executives, operators, and webmasters. Plus, he has an update on the US Department of Justice amending its indictment against online poker site Full Tilt to include running a Ponzi scheme:


DOJ Adds Lederer, Ferguson, Furst to Online Poker Civil Complaint

by , Sep 20, 2011 | 5:05 pm

So much to say on this latest development … which has two former “heroes” of poker on the front page of CNN for their involvement with criminal activity. About to go on QuadJacks to discuss it live.

full tilt doj chris ferguson howard lederer cnn

In the meantime, and while you’re listening, here’s the DOJ press release that calls Full Tilt Poker a $440 million Ponzi scheme.

And here’s the actual crime novel of the DOJ-SDNY’s proposed amendment to the complaint.

And read below for a statement from the PPA, calling on the DOJ not to forget about the players as they continue to shut it all down.

More…


The Check Isn’t in the Mail

by , Sep 1, 2011 | 10:40 pm

Full Tilt Poker has been very quiet about their non-payment to players since the Black Friday indictments effectively stopped their US facing operations. This week, however, they issued a statement that was predictable at best… blaming the Department of Justice for the payment delays. Also, J Todd looks at poker traffic on the web and welcomes two special guests.


Reconstruction Report

by , Aug 18, 2011 | 6:40 pm

It really would be kinda selfish to hoard all the knowledge in poker, let alone any insight gleaned from all the uninformed and/or misinformed Twitter-fueled forum banter. Things are moving so fast these days in poker it’s hard to keep up, let alone have time to post after filtering through the muck. Actually, that probably explains the continued love/hate in poker for QuadJacks … accuracy shmacuracy, if there’s new hubbub in poker, Zac and Marco and crew are on top of it, and occasionally the middle of it — with informed insiders and ignorant blowhards alike contributing — while SrslySirius makes a rap video.

But a few recent stories of particular significance that might otherwise get buried amid PokerStars/WSOP/WPT press releases, 2+2 NVG threads, and the mashup of Jungleman cheating buzz:

Ring-fenced funds: Full Tilt debaucle explained
ALDERNEY
Check out this story in Poker Player Newspaper about a regulatory matter of new relevance called “ring-fenced funds”. It helps one understand a little better why Full Tilt found themselves in tighter straits than PokerStars post-Black Friday (even though PokerStars is the big boy the DOJ most wants) … and leaves one to wonder why senior executives and on-duty attorneys representing both Party Gaming and PokerStars flew in from Gibraltar, Israel, and the United States to observe the proceedings firsthand. Perhaps they thought they were coming in to witness an execution?

Online gambling goes national
WASHINGTON DC
Big talk all over the internet about a piece in the New York Post that points out how stars seem to be aligning for online gambling legalzation in the US — from the Kyl/Reid letter requesting DOJ assistance in squelching offshore operatives and state initiatives alike, to a Boehner aide taking on a VP role with the American Gaming Association, to a warming friendship between House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Venetian pooh-bah Shelly Adelson.

It all supports my belief that online gambling will indeed be a national issue in coming months (assuming people behind a rumored Senate bill want it to be). There’s no mention, however, of the player-friendly Barton Bill, nor much anything about poker specifically — the writer talks of “gambling” — which suggests this story could be a plant by media operatives for the AGA, who we know, of course, represent Big Casinos and likely have Harry Reid’s office on speed dial. It also supports contentions that the effort to bring back online poker (thanks PPA and Joe Barton!) will likely become a push for full-on legal online casinos as bills move forward.

Nevada regulators prepping for Poker+ …
LAS VEGAS/CARSON CITY
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to many, Nevada Gaming authorities are in the midst of sweeping changes to state regulations — with very specific language updates on matters of foreign partners, “suitability”, server location, mobile gaming platforms, slot machine networks, money transfers, tax collection, you name it … The new rules currently taking shape in Nevada touch on just about every issue brought up in the online gaming political sphere over the past five years. Whether revolutionary or standard as far as procedure goes, if you really wanna know what the future of online gambling (and therefore poker) will look like — and/or place your bets on who the corporate winners will be* — follow the public work of the Nevada Gaming Commission and State Gaming Control Board here in coming weeks.

* for entertainment purposes only: smart bet is Caesars, William Hill, and Cantor-Fitzgerald.


This irregular link-dump has been brought to you by The Palms Casino Resort & Spa, home of the best big-little half-no-limit half-PLO game in Vegas.

Play Late!

palms poker promotion graveyard cash

ACTION ALERT: Pokerati Game — 1/2 NLH/PLO — gets underway tonight at 7pm! Goes until whenever …



Collateral Damage in the War on Poker

by , Aug 12, 2011 | 1:02 pm

For whatever reason, don’t ask me to explain, I’ve started looking back through some of the 300-or-so unpublished posts in Pokerati’s drafts folder. LOL. I found the one pasted below, from early ’07 as I got caught up in the Neteller money grab. No clue why I never pressed publish … I think it was because I wanted to do more research to support a theory about CIA interest in the Muslim-world’s gold-backed e-dinar and/or find a picture of a cartoon terrorist.

But really, takes you back, doesn’t it? I would, of course, get my $520 before year-end — no interest though from the Feds for holding it. And the return of Neteller money back in ’07 is a reason many give for their confidence in some day getting repaid by Full Tilt. But when I look back at that case — though Neteller was in many ways the opening salvo in the US fight to shut down the online poker industry — I frankly see why the current round of money seizures are very different, and thus why repayment via Full Tilt is far less likely than the government’s eventual release of Neteller funds.

Looking back at this post, and the original article it was gonna link to, does remind me about issues of virtual currency that the world is still trying to resolve. We couldn’t know it at the time, but what we’re seeing now started out with poker players getting caught up in something that was about way more than poker:

More…


Online Gambling Makes Strange Bedfellows

by , Jul 22, 2011 | 10:13 am

This week’s online gambling news includes an unusual bipartisan letter to the US Department of Justice. Plus, industry news from the United Kingdom, and a potential setback for regulated gaming in Washington DC.


The Jon & Harry Show

by , Jul 18, 2011 | 12:25 pm

By letter to federal Attorney General Eric Holder dated July 14th of this year, US Senators Jon Kyl and Harry Reid have made known their views on Internet gaming. Or rather: they’ve let the AG know what they want the Department of Justice to do without exactly saying what their position is. (Thanks to Chris Krafcik for circulating the letter.)

This letter, from two senators coming from very different camps on the Internet gaming issue, is a very interesting document both for what it says and for what it doesn’t say.

What it says is that the Department of Justice has been lax in pursuing foreign private Internet gaming operators and that this has “led to a signficant and growing perception … that the Department of Justice thought that the case [against operating Internet poker and other Internet gambling websites] was uncertain enough that it chose not to pursue enforcement actions.” The senators state that it’s important for the DOJ to pursue “illegal Internet gambling” in the United States “aggressively and consistently.” Most notably in this paragraph, Senators Kyl and Reid assert that Internet poker websites have been offering online play to Americans for many years “with apparently no repercussions.”

More…