Up To 20 Firms Could 'Bid On' Full Tilt Poker Job
DOJ To Look At Experience And 'Range of Costs,' Industry Insider Says
The United States Department of Justice recently announced that it’s seeking outside help with the Full Tilt Poker case. A claims administration firm will be hired to help compensate up to 1.3 million players owed a total of about $159 million.
Players will file claims to the third-party firm, a Department of Justice spokeswoman said Wednesday. The DOJ wouldn’t say how long the hiring process could take. It’s asking for applications to be sent in by Aug. 31.
The government also will likely ask for proposals from firms it has had experience working with before, according to Michael Bancroft, a partner at Philadelphia-based Heffler, Radetich and Saitta LLP — one of the leading claims administration groups in the country. He said there are about 20 such firms nationwide.
Not long ago, Bancroft’s firm served as the claims agent for a settlement fund of about $250 million. Bancroft said that his group hasn’t looked at the Full Tilt case.
Interested parties “bid on” these projects, said Bancroft, and the government looks at experience and pricing when making a hire. If all applicants have similar experience levels, the cheapest projected cost is usually chosen. Firms provide the government with a “range of costs” that can be expected over the course of the job, Bancroft said.
On the claims administrator application for the Full Tilt case, the DOJ wants firms to list “any discounted government rates.”
Claims administration groups can assign sizable teams to a case, depending on the number of victims seeking compensation, Bancroft added. His firm, for example, employs accountants, lawyers, IT experts, data entry personnel, call center attendants and direct mail specialists.
“It all depends on the case,” Bancroft said of the processing time. Some are easier than others. It remains to be seen what Full Tilt will be like. Full Tilt and its former directors still face class-action lawsuits, which seek millions in punitive damages on top of player repayment.
Enough money is in the government’s hands to reimburse players at 100 percent of their account balances, thanks to PokerStars making its initial settlement payment of $225 million.
Jeff Ifrah, an attorney for Full Tilt who helped broker the deal with PokerStars and the DOJ, said that PokerStars wanted to cash out Americans, but the DOJ decided to handle it.
Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus
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