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“Poker Web Site Cheated Users, U.S. Suit Says” By Matt Richtel, The New York Times, Sept. 20, 2011 Summary A web site called Full Tilt Poker cheated millions of people who logged onto it to play poker…
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Download file to see previous pages Without the knowledge of the customers, however, the money was transferred to the accounts of the owners and managers of the online gambling site, who were themselves were seasoned and prominent poker players. On behalf of the players who were cheated out of their money, federal prosecutors filed a civil complaint against the company, for an amount that could well reach $390 million, the amount allegedly acquired by the unscrupulous online game from its unsuspecting clientele. According to the federal prosecutors handling the case, the Full Tilt website was actually not a legitimate poker firm, but an elaborate Ponzi scheme the intention of which was actually to defraud those people whom the managers can entice to sign up with them. The fraud was revealed when the prosecutors had several poker sites shut down in the course of investigating two other poker web sites, which were based abroad. Because the site of Full Tilt Poker was also shut down, customers began asking for their money back, money which was supposed to have been held by Full Tile for safekeeping. When the reimbursements did not come, federal authorities were alerted, and the illegal scheme was discovered. Full Tilt is an online gambling business that exists de facto but the exact legal personality of which has not been determined. It has its headquarters in Ireland. Among those said to have profited from Full Tilt’s operations are Howard Lederer who is said to have received $42 million, and Christ Ferguson who got $25 million and has receivables of $60 million more. Both are considered luminaries in the world of poker. Former patrons of the website said that in the past, they were paid in a timely fashion and there appeared to be no problems if they withdrew money from their account anytime. When the crisis came and players began withdrawing their money all at the same time, Full Tilt’s reimbursements slowed and then stopped altogether, indicating the possibility of embezzlement of money which should have been held in individual accounts for the players. Reaction It is particularly ironic that people who go out of their way to gamble are themselves cheated out of their gambling money – a vice for a vice. During these hard times, gambling should be viewed as particularly wasteful and inconsiderate of others’ plight; in a sense, there is some poetic justice in being cheated out of money they were about to lose anyway. It is determined that the chances of consistently winning in a game of chance are skewed against the customer, and in favour of the gambling operator (Ethier 338). Other than this, there are serious problems about litigation and recovery. Full Tilt being a foreign de facto entity, and the embezzlement being committed in the U.S., there will be difficulty bringing the illicit corporation under the jurisprudence of the tribunal in the U.S. It may also prove difficult to trace the money trail to see who benefitted from the stolen funds as the internet by its nature protects anonymity. There will therefore be serious problems between the actual embezzlers, and those whose names were merely used to enhance the site’s appeal. The very act of gambling online is against U.S. law, so there may naturally be no international agreements that may have been entered to provide basis of claim between two countries. It ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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