Former Full Tilt Poker executives Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer have been named in a new class action lawsuit. This latest legal assault comes at the hands of another group of disgruntled players, claiming that Full Tilt has illegally kept some $150 million from being repaid to their customers.
There are, according to iGaming Business, four individuals leading this particular charge – Steve Segal of New York, Todd Terry of New Jersey, and Nick Hammer and Robin Hougdahl of Minnesota. This group is returning to the litigation process after a failed attempt in 2011, when their initial case accused Full Tilt of racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering. Because of the widespread distribution of the individuals involved, however, this first case was thrown out by a federal judge on the grounds that the collective matter was outside of his jurisdiction. As with their current suit, Lederer, Ferguson, and several other Full Tilt related persons and companies were named.
Why single out these two? In the end, it comes down to money. The class action statement alleges that Lederer received some $42 million in profit sharing and loans from Full Tilt, while Ferguson is accused of drawing $85 million from the company. These sums, the defendants argue, were illegally obtained and should be reimbursed to the site’s former players. The loans themselves are not the issue – it’s where the money came from that has raised eyebrows across the poker world.
“Defendants,” the lawsuit reads, “approved distributions and loans to the other owners of Full Tilt Poker from funds directly traceable to the player accounts… The distributions and loans to Lederer, Ferguson and the other Full Tilt Poker owners were from intermingled funds containing monies from the player accounts.”
The court documents, which were filed in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, come nearly one year after the events of Black Friday. The four accusers are seeking a refund of their online poker bankrolls, as well as the payment of punitive damages.