It was recently reported that a federal grand jury in Manhattan has taken up a case against Full Tilt Poker for money laundering charges. The Financial Times newspaper reported on Monday that indictments could be brought against ‘the world’s best known professional players’. Subpoenas have been issued this week to those involved.
Two poker players have been singled out in the case and they are very well known in the poker industry. Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer have been named in the case. Federal agents are working to investigate the money laundering charges and the Financial Times reported on the significance of the charges by stating:
“Money laundering charges might be attractive to the government as they would compel cooperation from authorities even in countries where gambling is legal.” The subpoenas sent out in the case reportedly claim that online gambling is illegal in the US.
Eric Jackson is representing Lederer and Ferguson in a separate case and he stated that they are not going to comment on the ‘speculative grand jury investigation that they are not aware of’. The Financial Times article stated: “FBI agents or prosecutors have spoken to at least two people involved in disputes with Full Tilt, paying special attention to the possibility of money-laundering violations, those familiar with the inquiry say. Money-laundering charges might be attractive to the government as they would compel co-operation from authorities even in countries where gambling is legal.”
This action by the federal government could be to help push the June 1st enforcement deadline of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The act had been delayed for six months but it looks as though there will be no further delays of the legislation.
Many in the online gambling industry have seen this move by the government as an attempt to make an example of one of the largest online poker rooms on the internet today that caters to United States customers, once the UIGEA goes into effect.
This is not the first time that Full Tilt Poker has been involved with lawsuits and it most likely will not be the last time. The online poker company has been sued by poker pro Clonie Gowen which was dismissed, as she was trying to claim 1% ownership of the company. The FBI was also investigating Full Tilt’s poker show called Face the Ace for copyright infringement. A bot lawsuit was also filed late last year by Lary Kennedy and Greg Omotoy. The domain name of the site was also being threatened in the state of Kentucky and this case is still ongoing.
I guess we will just have to wait and see where this case unfolds. Full Tilt is a major player in the online poker industry and for this site to possibly be shut down or have problems would be a major hit to the online poker community. The site has tens of thousands players competing on a daily basis which is why it is the second largest online poker site available online today next to PokerStars.