Full Tilt’s Former Director Howard Lederer Settles Civil Case

In September of 2011, Howard Lederer was one of four ex-members of the Full Tilt Poker board of directors named in a civil suit by the Southern District of New York. The US Attorney’s Office pursued a penalty of $42.5 million – the amount Lederer received from the online poker company – for allegedly defrauding players in a “Ponzi scheme” that cost Full Tilt members $330 million.

A second amended civil complaint was issued in September of 2012, wherein new charges were brought up against Lederer and his fellow board members. The amended allegations called for the forfeiture of assets purchased with the ill-gotten gains. The evidence presented included 5 years’ worth of significant purchases (2006-2011) with documents proving that he used ‘illegal proceeds’ to fund them. Such purchases included exuberant vehicles, mortgage payments on affluent dwellings, payment of property taxes and a retirement package.

Last month, on November 15th, Howard Lederer filed a motion to dismiss all claims against him. He denied all of the accusations, stating that he had no idea that any underhanded activity had occurred at Full Tilt Poker and that, as such, he should not be held accountable. However, the paper trail clearly linked the expenditures back to Full Tilt Poker.

On Tuesday, December 18, 2012, a Stipulation and Order of Settlement was filed in the NY Southern District. According to this document, Howard Lederer has settled his case. He made a point to attest that his actions involved no deliberate wrong-doing, persisting that Full Tilt Poker ran a “legitimate business providing services to its customers within the bounds of the law, and that prior to April 15, 2011, he was unaware of any wrongful activity at Full Tilt including that the company had become unable to satisfy its player account liabilities.”

Despite his insistence of innocence, Howard Lederer agreed to a settlement that would require him to forfeit the following:

-One of Lederer’s Las Vegas homes located at 309 Kingsclear Court, Las Vegas, Nevada
-All traceable proceeds from the sale of Lederer’s Las Vegas property located at 2735 Twin Palms Circle, Las Vegas, Nevada.
-$30,000 in traceable proceeds from the sale of Lederer’s Las Vegas property located at 5426 Fawn Chase Way, Las Vegas, Nevada.
-All funds and liquidateable assets in Lederer’s Isle of Man accounts at Lloyd TSB International.
-All funds from Lederer’s accounts at LPL Financial, including his 401k Profit Sharing Plan and Trust accounts.
-Lederer’s prized 1965 Shelby Cobra Roadster
-$1.25 million towards the “forfeiture of the Money Judgment Funds for disposition according to law, pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, Section 981, without admitting any liability thereunder” (i.e. judgment penalty for money-laundering).

Howard has exactly 36 months – 3 years – to settle all above mentioned debts with the Southern District of New York.

According to the second amended civil complaint, Howard Lederer was also required to forfeit two other Las Vegas properties and a third property in California, three Wells Fargo bank accounts and numerous other vehicles. In the settlement, however, there was no mention of these assets.

Howard Lederer and Rafe Furst are the only two of four former members of the Full Tilt Poker board of directors to settle their civil cases. Chris Ferguson is still negotiating with the government over his impending settlement, while Ray Bitar’s case remains in pending status.