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Feds Want Lederer's $10.5 Million Las Vegas Mansion

Government Releases Details Of Where Player Money Went


Lederer in 2009On Tuesday, nearly a year after the U.S. government accused poker player Howard Lederer of helping orchestrate Full Tilt Poker’s fraud, prosecutors have released details of where the player money went.

Lederer is on the hook for about $42.5 million worth of assets that the feds say are “traceable” to illegal activities in running Full Tilt. The penalty could cost him his $10.5 million Las Vegas, Nevada home that he built with Ponzi scheme money, according to an amended civil complaint. Altogether, he owns seven properties.

The document states that between about December 2006 and August 2011, Lederer had deposited millions into a “consulting” account, transferring monies along the way into his bank account at Wells Fargo.

Lederer, a two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, was involved with what the Department of Justice says was a fraud totaling about $443 million. Right now, only CEO Ray Bitar is facing possible jail time. If convicted of a slew of financial crimes, Bitar could get life in prison. The government also released information on some of Bitar’s assets that it wants forfeited, including the California home where he’s currently being monitored electronically while awaiting trial.

Also facing the loss of assets, but no jail time, are Chris “Jesus” Ferguson ($42 million) and Rafe Furst ($11.7 million). The four individuals have been called “FTP Insiders Defendants” by the DOJ. They served as the company’s board of directors.

The DoJ also claims that Lederer wanted to retire on stolen Full Tilt player money. Lederer is accused of investing fraud money into pension plans and a 401K.

Even after Black Friday, Lederer allegedly continued to spend on luxury items. The DoJ says that in late June 2011, Lederer finished purchase of a 2012 Audi A8-L, worth about $150,000. About $33,000 was processed on his credit card around this time, the government says. It was one of a handful of high-end cars he bought over the years.

Full Tilt’s global operations were shut down by its overseas regulator on June 29, 2011.

In order to retrieve money, the government has cited crimes that it says were perpetrated while engaging in the web poker business, including bank and wire fraud and money laundering.

While the blame has fallen on board members Bitar, Lederer, Ferguson and Furst, the four only represented about 38 percent of Full Tilt ownership. Authorities say that about 19 other individuals, who are not named, received the rest of the hundreds of millions.

The complaint says that another owner was given about $40 million in distributions (about the same as Bitar, Lederer and Ferguson), as well as millions in loans.

Full Tilt is no longer in the hands of the men who are accused of destroying it. PokerStars acquired it this summer as part of its own settlement with the feds. PokerStars was booted from U.S. cyberspace as well, but unlike Full Tilt, wasn’t accused of fraud.

Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus



over 8 years ago

I'm not defending any laws they broke, however, the DOJ claims they ran a Ponzi scheme. UP UNTIL THE TIME the DOJ shutdown the site, what players did NOT receive any of their winnings when requested?

I honestly don't know the answer to this question.

It's interesting that the government arrest people for running a business like the government runs Social Security. Shouldn't the DOJ go after Congress for running a Ponzi scheme?


over 8 years ago

I like how jail time is off the table for everyone involved. The message here... con whoever you's one big free roll. I guess either he will get to keep whatever he was able to hide or they will reach a settlement... either way Lederer and Ferguson will end up on the plus side. I mean if you can steal 40 million plus and the only downside is that you may have some of the money taken back... that really isn't much of a deterrent.


over 8 years ago

Thats the problem Parm. There are no consequences. If scumbags like Lederer knew they might go to hardcore prison for a good stretch they might think twice.