Chris Ferguson Makes Peace with US Government
It's been a long time coming but finally the former WSOP winner and Full Tilt Poker board member Chris Ferguson has entered into an agreement with the US Government to put an end to the civil suit against him. The story regarding the demise of Full Tilt has been well documented and maybe this puts an end to it, at least from a legal perspective. Ferguson offered settlement in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York before Judge Kimba Wood and this should bring an end to his involvement. Initially the civil litigation against Ferguson meant that he was handed a bill for $40 Million, however the settlement is markedly lower than that. When Tilt closed up shop he had around $14 Million in dividends in the Tilt bank and this will be forfeited going towards paying US players. He will also pay a fine of $2.35 Million and again, this will be put towards paying back players. Mr Ferguson has continually stated that he believed Full Tilt Poker was a 'legitimate business' and that he was totally unaware of any 'wrongful activity'.
With the settlement of Ferguson's case there are a few loose ends for the federal government to tie up. Still waiting in the wings is the former Tilt CEO Ray Bitar who is currently under house arrest after surrendering himself up in July 2012. He will sit trial in New York with no word of a date or indeed whether a settlement will be entered. There were of course other individuals charged on Black Friday, 11 in total and just the 3 remain on the missing list. They include Isai Sceinberg the PokerStars former owner, Paul Tate the payments Director and Scott Tom the owner of Absolute Poker. All 3 men are believed to be outside of the US which limits what the US courts can do. So we are reaching an end to the Black Friday saga, with fines and prison sentences having been handed out. Hopefully this can be put to bed now and online poker can recover having learnt a harsh lesson.