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Accused Fraudster Rafe Furst To Hand Over Swiss Bank Account To Feds In Settlement

Former Full Tilt Board Member Doesn't Admit To Any Wrongdoing


Rafe Furst in 2006

Rafe Furst is waving goodbye to his Swiss bank account containing shady Full Tilt money.

Furst, accused in September 2011 of helping orchestrate the biggest fraud in online poker history, has settled with the United States government for an undisclosed amount.

Furst will pay a fine of $150,000 in addition to handing over money in a “trust account” tied to his Full Tilt proceeds. Prosecutors dropped the civil money laundering penalty of $11,706,323.96, which is the amount he allegedly received in distributions while with the company.

The government said that at least part of the $11.7 million was deposited into a bank account at Pictet & Cie in Switzerland.

Furst was on Full Tilt’s board of directors when the company went insolvent with more than $300 million worth of player funds unpaid. Furst settled without admitting to any wrongdoing in what the Department of Justice described as a “global Ponzi scheme.”

According to a court document, Furst claimed he was unaware of any wrongful activity at the company, which included the alleged looting of player accounts.

The government said that Furst owned 2.6 percent of Tiltware LLC — a California firm which owned the entities related to the Full Tilt business.

Furst is a WSOP bracelet winner and a Stanford University graduate. He considers himself an “entrepreneur, investor, scientist and advisor,” boasting on his website that he “connect[s] ideas and people and resources in ways that most people don’t see as possible.”

The deal comes about 14 months after U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara uttered these piercing words at Furst and his former colleagues Ray Bitar, Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson:

“[Full Tilt] insiders lined their own pockets with funds picked from the pockets of their most loyal customers while blithely lying to both players and the public alike about the safety and security of the money deposited with the company.”

While Furst is forever finished with the lawsuit, the other defendants still remain in hot water. Lederer and Ferguson could fork over tens of millions of dollars each if found culpable in the alleged fraud, and Bitar faces life in prison in addition to monetary penalties if convicted.

Money the government receives from Furst will be thrown into the fund used to repay former American customers of Full Tilt. However, the government already has received enough from PokerStars to cover those account balances — and Americans still wait.

Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus



over 9 years ago

The moral of this story seems to be go ahead and steal millions... worst case scenario you can just give it back if you get caught. Thank you Rafe Furst for participating in the Full Tilt Fraud Free Roll.... better luck next time around.