These are my links for September 19th through September 20th:
- Highlights from the Full Tilt Ponzi Lawsuit – WSJ – As our colleague Alexandra Berzon is reporting, the government today said online-poker website Full Tilt cheated players out of their money. In part, an amended lawsuit from the government said Full Tilt claimed to hold money from players’ bank accounts that was being used instead to pay profits to Full Tilt’s owners and for other purposes.
Here are a few highlights from the government complaint. (And read the government’s amended lawsuit here):
* Disguised payments from banks: “The principals of the Poker Companies…deceived or directed others to deceive United States banks and financial institutions into processing billions of dollars in payments for the Poker Companies, by, among other things, arranging for the money received from United States gamblers to be disguised as payments to hundreds of non-existent online merchants and other non-gambling businesses…” the lawsuit said.
In part, the lawsuit says some of the defendants tricked Visa and Mastercard — which had blocked payments to gambling sites — by directing “others to apply incorrect transaction codes…and create the false appearance that the transactions were completely unrelated to internet gambling.” The lawsuit says an Absolute Poker document from 2007 identified 20 Internet shopping websites — including petfoodstore.biz and bedding-superstore.tv — used as fronts for credit-card transactions.
* Shifting money: “[I]n or about the summer of 2010, Full Tilt Poker’s payment processing channels were so disrupted that the company faced increasing difficulty attempting to collect funds from players in the United States. Rather than disclose this fact, Full Tilt Poker simply credited players’ online gambling accounts with money that had never actually been collected from the players’ bank accounts. Full Tilt Poker allowed players to gamble with — and lose to other players — this phantom money that Full Tilt Poker never actually collected or possessed.”
- U.S. Chamber Sues NLRB to Block Notification Rule – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce today filed a lawsuit against the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) challenging the Board’s new rule requiring businesses to post notices explaining employees' rights to unionize. The Chamber’s lawsuit alleges that the misguided NLRB rule violates federal labor and regulatory laws as well as the First Amendment. The case, Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. National Labor Relations Board, et al. is in the U.S. District Court of South Carolina.
“The NLRB has no authority to impose any of these requirements,” said Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center, the Chamber’s public policy law firm. “This is nothing more than labor regulation run amok. Adding insult to injury, the Board’s new rule violates the First Amendment by forcing employers to use their own resources to post the NLRB’s pro-union message on the company’s own property.”
The Chamber’s lawsuit alleges that the NLRB’s final rule regarding Notification of Employee Rights Under the National Labor Relations Act (“Notification Rule”) violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), and the First Amendment. Significantly, the rule creates a new “unfair labor practice,” exposing businesses to significant and costly liability for failure to comply. The Rule — which applies to virtually all private employers in the United States — becomes effective on November 14, 2011.
“At a time when the private sector is striving to create desperately needed new jobs, it is disappointing to see that the NLRB is imposing new and unnecessary regulations on employers,” said Randy Johnson, the Chamber’s senior vice president for Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits. “The latest rule is part of the NLRB’s pattern of tipping the scale in favor of unions, at the expense of employers and employees alike.”
According to the Chamber’s lawsuit:
• Nowhere does the NLRA give the NLRB authority to coerce employers to post such notifications, or to impose onerous penalties for those who fail to post the notices.
• In violation of the APA, the rule arbitrarily and capriciously excludes from the mandatory notice a description the fundamental rights of employees to be free of compulsory union membership and compulsory union dues.
• The NLRB violated the RFA by failing to properly assess the significant economic impact the rule would have on small businesses.
• The rule violates the First Amendment by compelling employers to post the NLRB’s ideological views on unionizing.
- Feds Call Full Tilt Poker A Massive Ponzi Scheme – Manhattan’s U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara claimed on Tuesday that Full Tilt Poker and its board of directors operated the company “as a massive Ponzi scheme against its own players.”
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said on Tuesday they were filing legal papers as part of a civil money laundering complaint that alleged Full Tilt Poker improperly used funds of online poker players to pay members of its board of directors, including famous poker players Howard Lederer and Christopher “Jesus” Ferguson, $440 million since April 2007.
Bharara announced the filing of a motion to amend a forfeiture and civil money laundering complaint that was filed in April, alleging that Full Tilt and board members Lederer, Ferguson and Rafael Furst, together with Full Tilt CEO Ray Bitar, defrauded poker players out of some $300 million by not maintaining funds at the company sufficient to repay players.
“Full Tilt was not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme,” Bharara said in a statement. “Full Tilt insiders lined their own pockets with funds picked from the pockets of their most loyal customers while blithely lying to both players and the public alike about the safety and security of the money deposited.”
Federal prosecutors have drawn up an amended complaint that names Bitar, Lederer, Ferguson and Furst, adding them to the original complaint which was filed seeking $3 billion from Full Tilt Poker and an unrelated poker company, PokerStars. The proposed amended complaint claims that in 2008 and 2009 Full Tilt sent emails to its players and posted messages on online poker message boards, assuring players that “unlike some companies in our industry, we completely understand and accept that your account money belongs to you, not Full Tilt Poker.” But the new complaint claims that the company did not have enough funds to repay players and that by March 31 Full Tilt only had $60 million or so in its bank accounts while owing $390 million to players around the world, including $150 million in the U.S.
Federal prosecutors claim that Full Tilt’s board members got rich because the company used player funds to pay them massive amounts of money that largely was transferred to their accounts in Switzerland and other overseas locations. Specifically, the feds allege that Bitar pocketed $41 million and Lederer got $42 million. Jesus Ferguson allegedly was allocated $87 million in distributions and received at least $25 million, federal prosecutors claim.
- Want to Ditch the Twinkies and Other High Caloric Food – Feed Your Brain? | Smiles For A Lifetime – Temporary (Locum Tenens) Dentistry – Want to ditch the Twinkies? Here is an easy way to do it…..sort of…..:
- Flap’s California Morning Collection: September 20, 2011 » Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Morning Collection: September 20, 2011
- Flap’s Dentistry Blog: Report: More Testing Needed at Dayton VA Medical Center Over Infection Control Dental Clinic Flap – The Dayton VA Medical Center Dental Clinic Flap continues…..:
- Shocker: Obama and Buffett Are Wrong on Tax Rates Paid By Millionaires | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Shocker: Obama and Buffett Are Wrong on Tax Rates Paid By Millionaires #tcot #catcot
- @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-09-20 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-09-20 #tcot #catcot
- President 2012 Poll Watch: Romney 49% Vs Obama 47%, Obama 50% Vs. Perry 45% | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – President 2012 Poll Watch: Romney 49% Vs Obama 47%, Obama 50% Vs. Perry 45%:
- NV-Sen: Dean Heller 48% Vs. Shelly Barkley 42% | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – NV-Sen: Dean Heller 48% Vs. Shelly Barkley 42% #tcot #catcot
- Flap’s Links and Comments for September 19th on 08:25 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Links and Comments for September 19th on 08:25 #tcot #catcot
- Overstock.com Not Pleased with Amazon.com California Internet Sales Tax Legislative Compromise » Flap’s California Blog – Overstock.com Not Pleased with Amazon.com California Internet Sales Tax Legislative Compromise
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