New York Federal Judge Drops RICO Claims Against Former Team Full Tilt Pros
Individual Pros Removed From Complaint
A New York federal judge has dismissed the RICO class action suit against the members of Team Full Tilt.
The complaint, which was filed last June, alleged that the defendants, Ray Bitar, Nelson Burtnick, Full Tilt Poker, Tiltware, Pocket Kings and the members of Team Full Tilt which included 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, were guilty of depriving the plaintiffs of access to their own funds.
The plaintiffs, which were made up of four player representatives in Todd Terry, Nick Hammer, Robin Hougdahl and Steve Segal, accused the defendants of wire and bank fraud, as well as racketeering, which would entitle them to triple damages.
However, U.S. District Judge Leonard B. Sand dismissed the RICO claim, stating in his Memorandum and Order that it wasn’t clear whether the plaintiffs’ failure to received their funds was caused by the Department of Justice’s actions on Black Friday, the companies listed or the individually named defendants themselves.
“The mere fact that Full Tilt Poker customers maintained player accounts on the website that they subsequently could not access is therefore insufficient to establish a conversion claim against these defendants. Nor have Plaintiffs alleged any additional facts, demonstrating that either company exercised control over the player accounts, or played any role in the decision to prevent Full Tilt Poker customers from withdrawing the money in their accounts.”
The judge concluded that while the claim can proceed with respect to Pocket Kings, Vantage Ltd. and Filco, it could not continue with the individuals named in the original complaint.
“Plaintiffs have pled sufficient facts to establish a plausible inference that defendants Pocket Kings, Vantage and Filco ‘played some role’ in the conversion. The fact that the three defendants worked together to maintain the Full Tilt website makes it plausible to infer that they also worked together to block Plaintiffs’ access to the money in their accounts. We therefore deny Defendants’ motion to dismiss the conversion claims against defendants Pocket Kings, Vantage and Filco but grant it with respect to Tiltware and Pocket Kings Consulting.”
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