Chris Ferguson Submits Civil Forfeiture Settlement to DOJ

Chris Ferguson went from an icon of the game to a pariah overnight in the aftermath of Black Friday

Nearly two years after Black Friday shook the poker industry to its core, Chris Ferguson is finally set to see his legal issues come to an end. Ferguson submitted a settlement offer to the DOJ for the forfeiture of assets related to Full Tilt Poker in order for the civil charges against him to be dropped.

Ferguson was charged on April 15, 2011, along with Howard Lederer, Rafe Furst and Ray Bitar, with each having assets seized or frozen. Furst was the first to agree to a settlement with the DOJ in late November, with Lederer following suit just three weeks later. Ferguson’s offer was submitted Tuesday in the US District Court in the Southern District of New York, with terms that are expected to be agreed upon by DOJ officials.

He has agreed to forfeit at least $2.35 million in addition to an unknown sum from the “Ferguson Account”, which is likely to be an account seized in the aftermath of Black Friday. Those funds will be put towards the repayment pool for American players when the process for cashing those players out is put in place. Ferguson also cannot claim any right to funds owed to him by Full Tilt, and he agrees not to work for or be paid by any company offering illegal internet gaming in the United States.

Ferguson will not admit any culpability, liability or guilt relating the charges in making this settlement, in similar fashion to the agreements made by Furst and Lederer. He also claims that he was ‘unaware of any wrongful activity at Full Tilt or that the company had become unable to satisfy its player account liabilities.’

Players in the United States are owed $150 million in unclaimed player balances, with the process for repayment under the control of the DOJ. While there has been no announcement as to how players can retrieve money they’ve been unable to access for almost two years, the settlements of Lederer, Ferguson and Furst have cleared up some of the legal issues hanging over the process.

Bitar, the one major Full Tilt Poker entity without an agreement with the DOJ, is currently under house arrest in California and awaiting trial.

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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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