Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against FTP

April 13, 2012

As Full Tilt Poker players still remain unpaid and unable to withdraw their money from their player accounts, a class action lawsuit was filed yesterday in a Las Vegas federal court against former Full Tilt directors Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer.

Coming up on the one-year anniversary of Black Friday, the lawsuit alleges that before and after Black Friday, Ferguson and Lederer “exercised unlawful dominion and control” of player funds in FTP accounts.

The lawsuit also focuses on the allegations that Full Tilt was a Ponzi scheme, claiming that US players were denied the some $150 million in funds that were rightfully theirs due in part to the actions of Ferguson and Lederer. According to the lawsuit, Lederer received around $42 million in “profit sharing” distributions, while Ferguson received $85 million, some in the form of loans.

The lawsuit reads: ”Additionally, defendants approved distributions and loans to the other owners of Full Tilt Poker from funds directly traceable to the player accounts. The distributions and loans to Lederer, Ferguson and the other Full Tilt Poker owners were from intermingled funds containing monies from the player accounts.”

The four lead class-action plaintiffs, Steve Segal of New York, Todd Rerry of New Jersey, and Robin Hougdahl and Nick Hammer of Minnesota, are requesting the defendants refund player funds and punitive damages. These same four players filed a class-action suit against Ferguson, Lederer, and other Full Tilt officials last year in New York with allegations of racketeering due to an alleged pattern of bank fraud, money laundering, and wire fraud; however, the federal judge presiding over the case found that the court lacked jurisdiction over the FTP defendants.

The new lawsuit was filed in Nevada as attorneys representing the players cited “diversity jurisdiction” as all parties reside in different states; and “personal jurisdiction” and “venue” since Lederer is a resident of Nevada, Ferguson has “conducted substantial business” in Nevada and “because many of the wrongs and acts complained of herein were contemplated and executed by defendants in this district.”

The FTP defendants haven’t commented on the new lawsuit, but they have denied similar suits by other poker players including one filed in Los Angeles back in October of last year. The October lawsuit names Ferguson and Lederer also, as well as Full Tilt CEO Raymond Biter and other professional poker players such as Phil Ivey.

There are three other pending federal civil suits against Full Tilt, filed by different plaintiffs in New York, one plaintiff being the United States, which unveiled the Ponzi scheme allegations in a complaint back in September. According to the allegations, the US government claims that FTP owes about $390 million to players internationally and about $150 million to US players with only $60 million in their bank accounts, as of March 31, 2010.


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