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Poker News | World Poker News

Full Tilt Poker and Player Funds Update by Department of Justice

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Once the Alderney Gambling Control Commission's (AGCC) decision to revoke Full Tilt Poker's (FTP) license was announced, FTP released a statement to PokerStrategy. The entirety of the statement is reprinted below:


On September 19, 2011, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission reconvened the private hearing originally held on July 26, 2011, regarding its suspension of Full Tilt Poker’s operating licenses.

During the hearing, Full Tilt Poker offered the testimony of an investor interested in acquiring the company. The interested investor testified before the Commission as to its advanced status of negotiations with the company and the terms and conditions of a potential purchase. Full Tilt Poker requested a 30-day adjournment of the hearing to allow for transition of the company to the new investment team.

Today, the Commission announced its decision to revoke three of the four Full Tilt Poker operating licenses, despite the weight of evidence presented at the hearing by Full Tilt Poker of investor interest in acquiring the company. The Commission’s decision to revoke Full Tilt Poker’s operating licenses makes it more difficult to execute the sale of the company and hence repay its players.

Throughout the last few months, Full Tilt Poker has been totally committed to ensuring repayment of its players in full — a commitment that it has expressed repeatedly to the Commission and the company believed that it was engaged in a collaborative effort with the Commission to repay its players.

Notwithstanding the potential damage done by the Commission and its disregard for our players, Full Tilt Poker remains committed to repaying its players in full and continues in active negotiations. A further statement will follow shortly.

An update from the U.S. Department of Justice (completely unrelated to the above information) regarding players’ funds was released. The Department of Justice's Victim Notification System was responsible in part for the update. The Victim Notification System is devised to help the government identify each victim in any given case and keep those victims updated with information necessary to access the Victim Notification System.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) assured victims in the update that the FBI and other agencies are attempting to secure FTP records and funds. Will the forfeited funds be returned to players victims? The DOJ is not certain as it would be contingent upon many factors including the amount seized, successful litigation, and other procedures. The time frame? The DOJ states: “We cannot predict the duration of proceedings in this case, other than to state that they will last for many months at the least.”

The DOJ’s statement:

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. General information regarding what is known as “remission” (i.e., return to victims) of funds that have been seized and forfeited is set forth in Department of Justice regulations found at 28 C.F.R. Part 9.

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