New DOJ Complaint Goes After $137m from Lederer, FTP Board

Howard Lederer
Howard Lederer faces $42.5 million in personal forfeitures.

The US Department of Justice has filed a new amendment to the complaint against online poker’s three biggest operators, including forfeiture charges against Howard Lederer, Ray Bitar, Chris Ferguson and Rafe Furst.

The Second Amended Complaint explains in detail the financial history of roughly $137 million in distributions paid to the four Full Tilt Poker owners.

Citing a slew of statutes including the Wire Act, The Illegal Gambling Business Act and now the Travel Act, the DOJ is calling the distributions proceeds of an illegal enterprise and therefore subject to forfeiture.

"There is probable cause to believe that the Defendant Properties constitute, or are traceable to property used in illegal gambling businesses," states the new complaint.

According to the amended complaint the DOJ will be seeking forfeitures in the amounts of:

  • $42.5 million from Howard Lederer
  • $42 million from Chris Ferguson
  • $40.8 million from Ray Bitar
  • $11.7 million from Rafe Furst

The complaint goes on to provide details on how Howard Lederer and Ray Bitar spent that money in the roughly four and half years leading up to Black Friday.

Lederer Allegedly Funded Personal Accounts with FTP Funds

According to the DOJ, Howard Lederer used the distributions from Full Tilt Poker to fund his personal accounts, retirement funds, mortgage payments and the purchase of a number of properties and automobiles.

The list of vehicles included a Maserati, four Audis and a 1965 Shelby Cobra.

While the amendment attributed two homes in Glendora, California to Ray Bitar’s FTP distributions, it failed to go into detail in regards to Chris Ferguson and Rafe Furst.

The Department of Justice complaint goes on to list 11 additional "Claims for Relief" to justify the forfeitures. The claims allege that FTP committed a long list of violations including illegal gambling, bank adn wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and travel offenses.

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