Lederer and Bitar hit by amended DoJ complaint
Wednesday, 12 September 2012
The US Department of Justice has filed a second amended civil complaint against Full Tilt Poker directors Howard Lederer and Ray Bitar that includes a number of new forfeiture charges.
Originally charged under the ‘Black Friday’ affair brought by the federal government on April 15, 2011, the original civil indictments were then amended in late-September of the same year to include allegations that the pair had been operating a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme that had awarded $444 million of customer money to themselves and the owners of the website.
The second amended civil complaint against Lederer and Bitar was issued earlier this week and alleges that the duo used the ‘illegal proceeds’ from the Full Tilt Poker enterprise to purchase houses and automobiles. It also includes provisions of the Travel Act of 1952 that prohibits ‘interstate and foreign travel of transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises’.
“There is probable cause to believe that the Defendant Properties constitute or are traceable to property used in illegal gambling businesses,” reads the amended complaint.
The US federal government is now seeking $42.5 million in forfeitures from Lederer and $40.8 million from Bitar. The amended action also contains eight additional ‘claims for relief’ charges to bring the total to twelve and encompassing illegal gambling, Travel Act offenses, bank and wire fraud, wire fraud, promotion money laundering and conspiracy, concealment money laundering and conspiracy, international money laundering and conspiracy, bulk money laundering and conspiracy, promotion money laundering and conspiracy relating to Full Tilt Poker fraud against players, concealment money laundering and conspiracy relating to Full Tilt Poker fraud against players, international money laundering and conspiracy relating to Full Tilt Poker fraud against players and bulk money laundering and conspiracy relating to Full Tilt Poker fraud against players.
“A review of bank records from the Howard Lederer account noted above at Wells Fargo Bank NA held in the name of HH Lederer Consulting LLC numbered 7655741861 (the “Lederer Consulting Account”), reflects that from approximately December 2006 through September 2011 at least $44,314,997.31 in United States currency that was directly tied to the criminal conduct described above was deposited into the Lederer Consulting Account,” read the new complaint against Lederer.
“A review of real property and banking records reflects that on or about April 19, 2010, Raymond Bitar ordered that a wire transfer of $566,388.36 be made from Pocket Kings Limited to Master’s Realty Services Incorporated d/b/a Premier Service Escrow as escrow for the purchase of the real property known as 1506 Forest Oaks Drive, Glendora, California 91741 (California APN: 8659-001-006) (the “Forest Oaks Property”),” reads the amended complaint against Bitar.