Howard Lederer’s troubles with the U.S. government in the wake of Full Tilt Poker’s collapse following Black Friday appear to be behind him. The former director of Full Tilt reached a settlement yesterday with the Department of Justice through which he forfeited an unspecified dollar amount but admitted to no wrongdoing in the case.
In September, the DOJ filed a civil suit against Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Ray Bitar and Rafe Furst seeking a combined $137 million in damages from the men on the basis of their responsibility behind the Full Tilt “Ponzi scheme”. Lederer was sought personally for $42.5 million. He agreed to turn over two bank accounts of unknown value to the U.S. as well as a vintage sports car and two Las Vegas properties with a combined estimated value of $975,000. Additionally, Lederer agreed to a civil money laundering penalty of $1.25 million; he has been given the next 36 months to pay that debt in two installments.
Rafe Furst settled with the DOJ four weeks ago in a similar fashion to Lederer, by forfeiting an undisclosed sum and admitting no wrongdoing. Bitar and Ferguson’s civil cases remain pending.
In the Howard Lederer settlement with DOJ court document, ‘The Professor’ maintains that Full Tilt Poker “was a legitimate business providing services to its customers within the bounds of the law.” As part of the settlement, Lederer also agreed to have no part of any business that derives money from online gambling in the United States until he obtains the appropriate authorization from all relevant government authorities.
Former U.S. customers of Full Tilt Poker remain without word from the government as to how they can process a claim on the money they are entitled to following the PokerStars buyout of Full Tilt Poker.