DOJ Says Return of Player Funds "Possible"

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Not to be outdone by the statements this morning from the Alderney Gambling Control Commission and Full Tilt Poker, the US Department of Justice has published its own statement regarding its investigation into Full Tilt and its missing player funds.

Posted on the website under the banner of the US DOJ Southern District of New York, the statement says the DOJ, along with the FBI, is trying to trace and secure as much of the missing funds "derived from operation of the fraud" as possible.

It also says that despite the agreement it made with Full Tilt Poker post-April 15th authorizing the return of player funds, Full Tilt never had the funds on hand.

The current operation is focusing on obtaining and examining Full Tilt Poker's books and records but is hampered by the fact much of this is held overseas.

Most importantly for players, the DOJ says the return of forfeited funds is possible but dependant on several factors including current litigation, the amount ordered to be forfeited by the court and other actions of the DOJ still to be determined.

Below is the DOJ posting in full:

“After the amended complaint in United States v. Pokerstars et al., 11 Civ. 2564 (LBS), was filed on September 22, 2011, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York received a number of new inquiries from individuals regarding the recovery of their funds from Full Tilt Poker.

 “By way of background, in April of 2011, this Office entered into a domain-name use agreement with Full Tilt Poker. That agreement, among other things, expressly authorized Full Tilt Poker to return player funds to players.

“However, as the September 22 amended complaint alleges, Full Tilt Poker did not in fact have player funds on hand to return to players.

“Instead, the amended complaint alleges that Full Tilt Poker had, among other things, (a) transferred significant amounts of players’ real money deposits to principals of the company, while (b) allowing many players to continue to gamble, and “win” and “lose,” with phantom credits in their player accounts.

“At this time, this Office, together with the FBI and other agencies, is attempting to trace, secure and forfeit as much as possible of the funds derived from operation of the fraud committed by Full Tilt Poker and its board members that is alleged in the amended complaint.

“The Office is also attempting to obtain and examine the books and records of Full Tilt Poker. Many of those books and records are kept overseas.

“The return of forfeited funds to victims of the alleged fraud may be possible, but will depend on several factors, including the successful conclusion of the litigation, the amount of funds seized and ordered forfeited by the court, and compliance with other procedures the Department of Justice may eventually establish regarding return of forfeited funds to victims who lost money as a result of the alleged fraudulent conduct.

“We cannot predict the duration of proceedings in this case, other than to state that they will last for many months at the least. We will apprise victims of the alleged fraud of future developments as appropriate.”

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