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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Second Amended Complaint Filed by DOJ Alleges Lederer Funded Assets with Unlawful Proceeds

Black Friday
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The United States Department of Justice filed a Second Amended Civil Complaint on Monday, September 10th, 2012, that involves the April 15th, 2011, online poker indictments. New forfeiture charges have been introduced against Ray Bitar and Howard Lederer that include houses and automobiles that were purchased with "illegal proceeds."

A Federal criminal statute, The Travel Act 18 U.S.C. § 1952, was added to the Second Amended Complaint in support of their forfeiture request. “Interstate and foreign travel of transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises,” is forbidden in the travel Act. By adding the Travel Act, the DoJ now has another statute in addition to the IGBA and Wire Act to rely on.

Lederer's expenditures are listed in a detailed account in the Second Amended Complaint from the end of 2006 to September 2011. The complaint shows that $44,314,997.31 is associated with criminal conduct and was deposited into his various bank accounts. That amount included $3,654,654.35 that was paid to Merlin Contracting & Development, LLC through personal accounts for the construction of a main home and guest house around 2007. The complaint also alleges $6,859,070 was paid “from the Lederer Personal Account, the Lederer Consulting Account and through cashier’s checks in connection with the construction of the main house.”

The records continue, stating that Lederer used illegal funds for retirement funds, mortgage payments, property taxes, and to buy vehicles that include: a 2008 Maserati GranTurismo, 2008 Audi Q7, 2008 Audi A8L, 2009 Audi A8, 2012 Audi A8 L Quattro, and a 1965 Shelby Cobra.

Bitar's list of purchases include two homes in Glendora, California, that are included in the complaint. Rafe Furst and Chris Ferguson did not have specific expenditures listed.

The DOJ is seeking forfeitures since the listed expenditures can be traced to an "illegal enterprise":

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

Also included in the complaint are eight more "Claims for Relief" which brings the total to 12. If true, the claims would justify the DoJ's request for the forfeitures; the 12 Claims for Relief are as follows:

  • Illegal Gambling
  • Travel Act Offenses
  • Bank and Wire Fraud
  • Wire Fraud
  • Promotion Money Laundering and Conspiracy
  • Concealment Money Laundering and Conspiracy
  • International Money Laundering and Conspiracy
  • Bulk Money Laundering and Conspiracy
  • Promotion Money Laundering and Conspiracy Relating to Full Tilt Fraud Against Players
  • Concealment Money Laundering and Conspiracy Relating to Full Tilt Fraud Against Players
  • International Money Laundering and Conspiracy Relating to Full Tilt Fraud Against Players
  • Bulk Money Laundering and Conspiracy Relating to Full Tilt Fraud Against Players.

Information for this article taken from

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