L.A. class-action suit seeks $900 million from Full Tilt Poker
The newest suit, filed in federal court in California this week, accuses Full Tilt of fraud, unjust enrichment, “a pattern of racketeering,” “brazen money-laundering” and more.
Los Angeles residents Lary Kennedy and Greg Omotoy named a slew of defendants, including Full Tilt Chief Executive Raymond Bitar and board members Howard Lederer and Christopher Ferguson.
Also included: poker celebrities such as Phil Ivey and Gus Hansen, whom the complaint said helped promote the website and attract players.
The allegations resemble many of the ones made in an amended civil lawsuit filed by federal prosecutors last month against Full Tilt. Soon after, Ferguson’s lawyer, Ian Imrich, said in a statement that “under any reasonable interpretation, the worldwide operations of the online card room are not a so-called Ponzi scheme.”
Imrich is among the defendants named in this week’s complaint, which alleges that Full Tilt misappropriated funds from player accounts and fed it to the defendants. The site also illegally deducted “rakes” -– a small fraction of each winner’s pot -– according to the complaint.
Full Tilt “did not create financial reserves for amounts held on behalf of players, but instead distributed the money for operational expenses, marketing expenses, fees and losses arising from money laundering … and massive distributions to the individual defendants,” the complaint says.
If the suit reaches class-action status, it could include thousands of people across the country, according to the complaint. While the site owes Omotoy $10, it is $120,000 in debt to Kennedy, the suit alleges.
-- Tiffany Hsu
Photo credit: Robert Sullivan / Agence France-Presse