Sign Up For Card Player's Newsletter And Free Bi-Monthly Online Magazine


Poker Training

Newsletter and Magazine

Sign Up

Find Your Local

Card Room


Final Former Owner Of Full Tilt Poker Pleads Guilty

Bitar, Lederer, Ferguson And Furst Are Now All Out Of Hot Water


Ray Bitar pleaded guilty Monday to violation of the UIGEA and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, avoiding jail time because he needs a heart transplant, according to The Wall Street Journal. His plea means that no former owner of Full Tilt Poker was found responsible for the disappearance of more than $300 million worth of player funds.

Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson and Rafe Furst all settled their respective civil cases with the U.S. government without admitting to any wrong doing. Bitar was on the hook for criminal charges as well, and, like his former colleagues, will fork over a lot of cash to the government.

No one admitted to, or was found guilty of, stealing from players themselves. The Department of Justice had called Full Tilt Poker a “global Ponzi scheme.” In his sentencing, Bitar reportedly did admit that “safe and secure” was a bogus phrase to describe player funds.

A U.S. Attorney said in 2011 that Full Tilt Poker “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.” These accusations were never proven, though Americans have obviously been left empty-handed.

The case of the alleged Full Tilt Poker heist appears to be closed. Those once accused of being responsible for arguably the biggest scandal to ever hit the poker world are out of hot water. To this day, Americans are without a sum totaling about $160 million.

It’s worth noting that individuals who were involved in the payment processing aspect of the business, such as Chad Elie, have arguably been hit with the stiffest penalties.