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Department Of Justice Looks For Aid With About 1.3 Million 'Potential U.S. Victims' Of Full Tilt Poker

Government To Hire Payment Processor For $159M Worth Of Cash Outs

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The government needs some help.

Late last week, the United States Department of Justice released an employment opportunity notice on its website. The position is for a third-party “Claims Administrator” for the Full Tilt Poker remission process.

According to the DOJ, there are about 1.3 million “potential U.S. victims” — those with money stuck on defunct Full Tilt, which was sold to PokerStars just last week. Those former U.S. customers have account balances totaling about $159 million. The DOJ has the money to cover this amount after PokerStars paid its initial installment of $225 million. The U.S. will eventually receive $547 million from PokerStars.

However, compensating such a huge number of people could be a challenging process.

Jeff Ifrah, an attorney for Full Tilt who helped broker the deal with PokerStars and the DOJ, said that the goal of the hiring is to “improve processing time.” The DOJ is asking to have applications for the position submitted by the end of August.

Ifrah said that the decision to hire an outside firm is “consistent” with what the DOJ has said throughout the negotiations. It’s an “indication that everything is on track,” he added.

According to the DOJ, the Claims Administrator will work with authorities to “design and execute a process to solicit, receive and evaluate claims, and to process payments, for losses incurred by U.S. victims that are attributable to the fraud alleged in the [Full Tilt Poker complaint]. In so doing the Claims Administrator will obtain and evaluate information, such as financial transaction records, from claimants, and analyze information contained in user account records provided in database and other format by Full Tilt Poker.”

Among other things, the application requires interested parties to disclose any prior contacts with any online poker site or gambling company that could “be viewed as affecting independence.” The government is also asking for projected fees for the job.

This remission avenue may be peculiar since PokerStars wanted to repay Full Tilt’s U.S. players. Instead, the Isle of Man-based company will only handle cash outs in foreign markets.

After the indictments in April 2011, PokerStars swiftly cashed out its U.S. players with the permission of the DOJ. Having PokerStars handle everything again would be “much faster,” Ifrah said. He added that it was never explained why the DOJ chose to handle U.S. funds.

The Poker Players Alliance, a Washington D.C-based lobbying group, released a letter last week regarding player funds, which mentions that it “stands ready to assist the [DOJ] in creating a streamlined and accessible process.”

Poker pro Greg Raymer, who serves on the group’s Board of Directors, said that it’s all about making “our voice heard” so that the process is “fair and quick.”

“The PPA is there to make sure [processing] fees are minimal for the player,” Raymer added. He also pointed out that his organization doesn’t have the capabilities or expertise to work as the Claims Administrator. “I can’t imagine we would be doing that.”

“Some [company] is certainly going to make some money,” Raymer admitted about the process of cashing out U.S. players. “The DOJ isn’t a payment processing company.”

The government has yet to release any specific information on how players can file a claim. Although the DOJ hasn’t made any guarantees, Ifrah expects reimbursement at 100 percent.

Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus

 
 
 
 

Comments

yolapavement
over 8 years ago

Yes, we do. I got my full refund on pokerstars.

bmpek said:

" wake up folks under the law there is and shoud be penilities and late fees attached for nonpayment and non declaration of taxable income".

Late fee's to what from whom? Man, you must have lost a lot playing online poker to have so much hate. (look at all his previous posts).

At least you are 67 and only probably have 6 yrs left...... Unreal how dumb you are

 
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blegend
over 8 years ago

Department of Justice? How is stealing money from American online poker players (which it looks like it's over 90% what they intend on doing) any form of justice?

 
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YeeDoggy
over 8 years ago

My understanding isFT hired an Australian banker to figure out a way to move money without violating UIGEA. Instead, the guy ripped-off FT (maybe that had something to do with player funds not being segregated.)

FT got word he was flying to the US and contacted the FBI. Once the FBI arrested him, he made a deal with DOJ to take them all down.

Regardless, FT is responsible for not keeping a short leash on this AH and the rest is history.

 
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gnneh
over 8 years ago

First, DOJ take away our freedom and now they try to give themselves and their friends a big bonus.

 
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clunker
over 8 years ago

People who have payed their taxes on their winnings will have no trouble getting paid with taxes being deducted on FTP winnings. Those who have not paid their taxes are going to have problems. As far as the DOJ or the government stealing anyones money if not for the DOJ basically forcing Pokerstars to pay for FTP thievery you people would have less then ZERO chance of getting any thing. As far as allowing Pokerstars to repay American players law enforcement always allows the criminals to repay the people they stole from. Are you people that delusional, maybe instead of sitting on your fat asses complaining about paying taxes you should join the military and earn some of those tax $'s that you think were stolen from you. What freedom did the DOJ take away from you gnneh. Maybe you don't like the law[personnelly I don't like the law that says I can't go to the local bank and make withdrawals even though I have no money in that bank] but thats the law live with it work to change it but stop pissing and moaning because right now it is the law.

 
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rab1234
over 8 years ago

Real question:

My assumption is that if you have lost money playing poker in some other format, but made money on FTP, you really don't owe any tax. For example, I made about $1500 on ftp, but entered and did not cash in a $1500 WSOP tournament.

I don't feel like I owe any tax, but how does the DOJ know that?

 
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clunker
over 8 years ago

you should have a receipt for your entry. you would send a copy with your tax return.

 
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rab1234
over 8 years ago

Although that also brings up the question of what to do if you just lost money at table games, but made money online.

I guess the answer is that you just be honest and pay what you owe on all gambling wins minus losses for the tax year. If the IRS is suspicious of how much money you have, they will audit you.

 
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rab1234
over 8 years ago

and further... what tax year are you supposed to have paid for? I didn't pay tax on winnings for the year in which FTP shut down because a) I lost an equal amount in Vegas and b) there was no indication that we would ever get the money anyway.

It's not a big issue for someone like me, but would people owe taxes on 2011 or the year that they get paid by the DOJ (2012 or later).

 
 

YeeDoggy
over 8 years ago

What if I don't care to cash out but rather my money stay in my FT account and continue playing?

 
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