POKER

Chris Ferguson, DoJ reach settlement on Black Friday civil charges

TAGs: Black Friday, Chris Ferguson, Department of Justice, Full Tilt, full tilt poker

chris-ferguson-doj-civil-settlementFormer Full Tilt Poker (FTP) board member Christopher ‘Jesus’ Ferguson has reached a settlement with the US Department of Justice on the civil charges stemming from the Black Friday online poker indictments of April 15, 2011. According to the terms of the settlement (viewable here, courtesy of attorney Ian Imrich), Ferguson has agreed to pay $2.35m plus forfeit “all funds in the Ferguson Account (the ‘Ferguson Account Funds’)” as well as waiving any claim to the millions in remuneration Ferguson claimed to be owed by FTP before it went tits-up.

The dollar figure contained in this Ferguson Account is unspecified, but the DoJ’s Sept. 2011 second amended civil complaint cited $25m in disbursements made from FTP to Ferguson between April 2007 and April 2011. Regardless of the total, all moneys derived from Ferguson’s settlement will go into the remission kitty that will (eventually) be used to reimburse FTP’s former US players’ long-lost account deposits.

Ferguson’s co-accused FTP board member Howard ‘I can’t recall’ Lederer settled his civil suit in December, forfeiting $1.25m in cash plus several properties and luxury items. Another board member, Rafe Furst, settled his civil charges in November by paying $150k and waving any claim to funds in bank accounts seized on Black Friday. The second amended complaint cited Ferguson as the primary beneficial owner of FTP with 19.2% of Tiltware LLC, while Lederer held 8.6% and Furst held 2.6%. Former FTP CEO Ray Bitar, who is contesting the criminal and civil charges filed against him on Black Friday, was listed as holding 7.8%.

Like his former partners in fiscal ineptitude, Ferguson agreed not to pursue any legal action against the DoJ or the FBI over their actions in this case. On the plus side, Ferguson’s settlement doesn’t require him to admit any guilt and Ferguson gets to maintain his position that “poker does not constitute gambling.” The judge overseeing the civil proceedings, Kimba M. Wood, still needs to sign off on the deal for it to take effect.

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