Full Tilt Poker Ponzi scheme is revealed today. U.S. Justice Department is accusing poker stars Christopher “Jesus” Ferguson and Howard Lederer of defrauding poker players out of more than $300 million. Preet Bharara is on his way becoming the next Rudy Guliani. After prosecuting Raj Rajaratnam successfully Preet Bharara will probably put poker celebrities behind bars. Chris Ferguson got $25 million and Howard Lederer got $42 million from Full Tilt.
Justice Department says that Full Tilt Poker’s Ponzi scheme paid out $444 million to themselves and other famous poker players. Full Tilt Poker was started by Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, and other investors in 2004. According to H2 Gambling Capital, there are 1.7 million active online poker players in the U.S. and they wager $14 billion a year. That’s around $8000 per poker player.
Is Full Tilt Poker Hiding Assets?
Justice Department’s filing shows that Full Tilt Poker had $60 million in the bank and it owed $390 million to players around the world. Justice Department’s figures about Full Tilt Poker are probably correct. This means that Full Tilt Poker’s market share is around 3% using H2 Gambling Capital’s estimates. We don’t think their market share is this low. Either Full Tilt Poker is hiding other assets somewhere else, or H2 Gambling Capital’s estimates are significantly inflated.
The bottomline is Full Tilt Poker was running a Ponzi scheme and some poker start will probably end up in Jail.