Remember when a brief statement was released on the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York's website in November — a Victim Update?
November 20, 2012—Victim Update. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is evaluating applicants for the position of Claims Administrator to handle petitions for remission for U.S. victims of the alleged fraud that Full Tilt Poker committed relating to player funds. The United States Attorney’s Office expects that the Claims Administrator will be selected and begin work in January 2013.
It finally happened!
The announcement came on Wednesday that Garden City Group (GCG) has been hired to serve as Claims Administrator by the U.S. Attorney for the SDNY. The GCG will oversee the repayment of Full Tilt Poker players that are U.S. based as set forth in both the forfeiture and the civil money laundering action in the United States vs PokerStars, et al.
As part of the settlement with the DoJ in August of last year, PokerStars agreed to forfeit $547 million to the United States government to repay victims in the United States.
The press release issued by the DOJ states: “The Garden City Group brings a track record of handling the administration of some of the country’s largest and most complicated settlements,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. “With their selection, we take a significant step forward in the process of compensating victims of the Full Tilt Poker scheme.”
The press release continues with the DoJ singing the accolades of the CDC: “GCG is a class-action settlement and bankruptcy administration company that has provided comprehensive legal administration services for nearly three decades. GCG has worked on numerous complex administrations, including the Gulf Coast Claims Facility; the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damage Settlement; the Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation; the WorldCom Securities Litigation; and the IPO Securities Litigation.”
Although the information regarding the repayment process is not available at this time, the press release noted that a dedicated website — www.FullTiltPokerClaims.com — has been established by the GCG to speed up victim compensation and the “victim claims process will begin shortly.”
Call the toll-free hotline at (866) 250-2640 for more information.
All U.S. Full Tilt Poker players that still have funds locked up by the DoJ are probably letting out a heavy sigh of relief with the speed shown to date by the U.S. government at returning their funds. Sports books around the world may have a line up on just how long it will take. Maybe…just maybe by this time next year all the information will be compiled and then in 2015 players will begin to see their money returned...a feat that PokerStars could have accomplished in a week.