Lederer Settles Black Friday Civil Case

Howard Lederer's settlement leaves Chris Ferguson and Ray Bitar as the only Black Friday defendants who have yet to settle.

Former Full Tilt Poker President, Manager, Director and owner Howard Lederer settled the Black Friday civil suit brought against him by the U.S. government, agreeing to penalties and asset forfeitures totaling more than $2.5 million.

The settlement order was filed late Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New York. Under its terms, Lederer will turn over to the government two bank accounts of unknown value, a 1965 Shelby Cobra roadster, two Las Vegas properties with a combined value of approximately $975,000 and an additional $30,000 traceable to the sale of a third Las Vegas property.

Lederer also agreed to pay the government a two-part money judgment, comprised of a civil money laundering penalty of $1.25 million and an additional $168,000 that will be liquidated from certain of Lederer’s other bank accounts. The money laundering penalty is payable in two installments, due 18 months and 36 months from now, and is secured by Lederer’s two remaining Las Vegas properties.

Since the government first unsealed the civil and criminal suits against Full Tilt, Lederer has maintained that Full Tilt was a legitimate business operating within the bounds of the law. He has repeatedly claimed that he had no knowledge of any impropriety at the company prior to April 15, 2011, including a shortfall in the company’s ability to cover player account balances.

As part of the settlement, Lederer re-asserted those statements and did not admit to any wrongdoing in connection with the government’s claims against him and Full Tilt. However, the settlement bars him from working for or deriving any money from any internet gambling business in the U.S. until such gambling becomes lawful.

Lederer was one of four Full Tilt insiders personally named in the Black Friday civil case. Fellow director Rafe Furst settled his own case three weeks ago by forfeiting a trust account to the government and agreeing to pay a $150,000 penalty.

The cases against the other two insiders, Chris Ferguson and former CEO Ray Bitar, remain pending. Bitar, the only of the four men to be indicted in the companion Black Friday criminal case, is currently under house arrest in California.

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Kevin McGrady

Legislative and Politics Beat Writer: Kevin McGrady practiced corporate law in New York City for eight years before moving to Las Vegas in 2008 to join the gaming industry. Kevin is a graduate of New York University and Columbia University School of Law.
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