Full Tilt Poker claims administrator Garden City Group (GCG) confirmed today that a sixth round of payments to former US customers of the site has been approved, with about 2,000 players scheduled to receive a collective $4.3 million in refunds in the coming days.
The notification is newsworthy in that some of the players in this latest wave were deemed as “professionals” within Full Tilt’s accounting system, meaning that these were players were likely receiving additional benefits from the original, pre-Black Friday site. Hundreds of so-called pros, including many “Friends of Full Tilt,” received modest rakeback benefits or other small compensation in return for their public endorsement of the site.
Originally, such players were to have the entirety of their sums forfeited to the US government on the grounds that they were “business partners” of Full Tilt, and thus were secondary participants in the Ponzi-scheme allegations made against the company and its core executives. However, after extensive legal lobbying and online-poker business education provided by the US-based Poker Players Alliance and others, claims administrator and the Department of Justice partially relented. These Full Tilt-designated pros were subsequently ruled to be able to receive the portions of their online bankrolls that were related directly to online play at FTP.
The latest GCG notification does not state what percentage of the latest 2,000 players scheduled to receive refunds were FTP-designated “pros”. However, this latest refund wave, the sixth to date in an overall seizure-and-refund process which has now stretched more than four years, brings the total number of processed petitions to date to more than 87% of all those filed.
Here’s the statement that Garden City Group issued today:
GCG has been informed that the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section has approved a new round of payments, which will include payments to Petitioners who have disputed their FTP Account Balances, Petitioners who confirmed their FTP Account Balances and Petitioners designated by FTP as “Professionals.” In all, the distribution will include approximately 2,000 Petitions totaling approximately $4.3 million. After this round of payments, we will have paid approximately 87% of all Petitions filed.
GCG continues to work with the Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) to evaluate the balance of the Petitions that have been filed. Petitions that are found to be valid will be paid in upcoming distributions. GCG and the DOJ expect to distribute additional payments by the end of the third quarter of 2015.
For further information regarding the payment process and bank testing, please see the updates below.
Please note that GCG will soon be sending emails notifying Petitioners of deficiencies in their Petitions, including Petitioners who provided no documentation or insufficient documentation in support of their Petitions and certain Petitioners who have disputed their FTP Account Balance. Please note that responses will be required within 20 days of the date of the email. Please be sure to check your email account’s spam or junk folder to ensure the message was not filtered.
The announcement that this sixth wave was in the works was leaked by PPA Executive Director John Pappas in early May, following ongoing discussion with GCG and DOJ officials. As mentioned, the upcoming round of payments represent the sixth such mass issuing of refunds to former US FTP players. The total of 87% of processed petitions now accounts for about $104 million in total refunds.
- February, 2014: $76 million, 27,500 accounts
- April, 2014: $5 million, 2,200 accounts
- June, 2014: $14 million, 3,200 accounts
- September, 2014: $1.8 million, 600 accounts
- March, 2015: $2.8 million, 3,500 accounts
The roughly 13% of disputed petitions includes some of the largest balances that existed on the site when its operations were frozen in April of 2011. The exact count of remaining disputed remission applications remains undisclosed by GCG, even though another batch of refunds is expected to be approved later this year.
For others, though the wait drags on. All of the remaining accounts are believed to be those which have required a manual auditing process by GCG and DOJ administrators, for a number of varying reasons. The lengthy process is expected to stretch well into 2016, perhaps even 2017, for those with the most difficult situations to resolve.
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