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Fill Tilt let players gamble 'phantom' money

Full Tilt Poker News: Board members were paid $440 million using players' funds

by Jackhunter PokerJolt September, 21st 2011
Overall: 5
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The latest Full Tilt Poker news will devastate players

Above: The latest Full Tilt Poker news will devastate players

The latest Full Tilt News will devastate players hoping to get their money back

Full Tilt Poker was crediting some player's accounts with money that didn't exist at the time it was shut down, prosecutors claimed yesterday.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a new filing yesterday that Full Tilt payment processing was so poor that poker players routinely gambled, and lost, cash that wasn't 'real'.

It read: "Full Tilt Poker allowed players to gamble with - and lose to other players - this phantom money that Full Tilt Poker never actually collected or possessed."

The prosecutor also made the shocking claim that Full Tilt paid board members more than $440 million from funds that were supposed to be available for withdrawal by players at any time.

By March, the company owed players worldwide some $390 million but only had only $60 million in its bank accounts.

Four of its directors, Raymond Bitar, Howard Lederer, Christopher Ferguson and Rafael Furst, had been paid from player funds since 2007, Bharara said.

One of the 11 criminal defendants in the ongoing case against Full Tilt, PokerStars, Absolute Poker and other poker businesses - who continued to operate in the US despite the ban in 2006 - , Bitar, is charged with bank fraud, illegal gambling and money laundering.

In a submission to U.S. District Judge Leonard B. Sand, Attorney Bharara said:  "Full Tilt insiders lined their own pockets with funds picked from the pockets of their most loyal customers while blithely lying to both players and public alike about the safety and security of the money deposited with the company."

He even called it “a global Ponzi scheme.”

Ex-federal prosecutor James Montana said: "If this thing had just continued, given the constant interest, they probably would have continued to go on and no one would have known the difference."

Full Tilt has been shut to US players since 'Black Friday' - April 15 - when PokerStars And Absolute Poker were also shut down in the US, and to those in the UK since June 29, when the AGCC suspended all its licenses.

A hearing into the company's activities - and a decision on the future of its gaming licenses - has been postponed until at least later this month.

Pokerjolt understands that 888, Bodog and bwin.Party Digital Entertainment have so far made enquiries about acquiring Full Tilt's European businesses.

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