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Full Tilt Poker now faces class action litigation
Saturday July 2, 2011 : A number of online poker players impacted by the events of Black Friday and the subsequent inability of Full Tilt Poker to pay its US players have commenced a class action against the company.
The action was launched last Thursday in the U.S. District Court South District of New York, demanding the return of players’ funds and for subsequent damages, alleged to be more than $150 million.
The plaintiffs in the action are Steve Segal, Nick Hammer, Robin Hougdahl, and Todd Terry “on behalf of themselves and all other similarly situated [players].”
The complaint names nine corporate entities or companies, and 15 individuals. The companies named are mainly associated with Full Tilt Poker, whilst the persons named include Raymond Bitar and Nelson Burtnick, along with Team Full Tilt members like Howard Lederer, Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, John Juanda, Jennifer Harman-Traniello, Phil Gordon, Erick Lindgren, Erik Seidel, Andy Bloch, Mike Matusow, Gus Hansen, Allen Cunningham, and Patrik Antonius.
The complaint specifies: “[Name] is an individual residing in the State of Nevada, and is a member of the Enterprise. At all of some relevant time(s), [Name] has been a shareholder and director of Full Tilt and/or one or more Full Tilt Companies. [Name], a professional poker player himself, is a member of Team Full Tilt and represents the Full Tilt brand in poker-related events all over the world, wearing clothing and accessories that bear the easily recognizable Full Tilt Poker patch.”
The plaintiffs claim to represent "...a nation-wide class of Full Tilt account holders residing in the United States . . . Plaintiffs bring suit to demand return of U.S. player funds and for damages . . . U.S. Players’ would never have suffered injury, but for the Defendants’ widespread scheme to commit wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering in order to pad their own pockets.”
The plaintiff's request that a jury trial be convened, and further claims:
* That all members of Team Full Tilt own an equity interest in—and are directors of—the Full Tilt and/or the entities that operate under the Full Tilt name.”
* That US players are being wrongfully denied access to approximately $150 million (USD) in funds they deposited in their own Player Accounts, and that, after deceitfully separating U.S. players from their money, Full Tilt Poker refuses to refund the U.S. players’ deposits, to reimburse U.S. players for the dollar-value of the contents of their Player Accounts, or to permit U.S. players access to their Player Accounts.
* That predicated acts of Wire Fraud, Bank Fraud and Money Laundering have directly harmed Plaintiffs.”
* That all Defendants, by virtue of their control and ownership of the Full Tilt companies that comprise the Full Tilt umbrella, and/or their ownership stakes in the umbrella undertaking, are liable for conversion of Plaintiffs’ and class members’ monies and assets held in Plaintiffs’ and class members’ Full Tilt Player Accounts. The Player Accounts and the property therein are currently and wrongfully in the exclusive custody of the Defendants.
* That poker ace Phil Ivey has at least a 5 percent stake in Full Tilt.
* That Full Tilt’s “pattern of racketeering” is the proximate cause of injuries to Plaintiffs.
The Full Tilt litigation may not be the only class action a-brewing.
According to discussions currently taking place among players on the influential two plus two message board, there may be further legal activity along similar lines taken up against the embattled Cereus network and its Absolute Poker and UBpoker sites. Cereus is allegedly owned by Stuart Gordon's Blanca Games.
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