Is Phil Ivey the Inside Man?
Posted Sep 20th 2011 11:05PM EST
As news of the US Department of Justice's amended indictment broke today, many wondered just how the DOJ gained access to this new information.
The civil complaint, which alleges Full Tilt Poker was a massive "Ponzi scheme," was amended to include allegations that Full Tilt Poker stole player funds to pay off its board member and principle investors. 'Celebrity poker players' Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, and Rafe Furst names were included in the amended complaint, but the omission of Phil Ivey, who was thought to be a major beneficiary and early investor of Full Tilt Poker.
The complaint, does however, mention an undisclosed 'player owner 1' that "received at least approximately $40,078,646.64 in distributions, as well millions of dollars characterized as loans from Full Tilt Poker. At least approximately $4.4 million of these loans have not been repaid." Some asked "why is this player not mentioned by name?' (as Lederer, Ferguson, and Furst) and 'Could this player be Ivey?" You may remember a press release that alleged Ivey owed the company millions in unpaid loans.
While there's no strong evidence that Phil Ivey is in fact an inside source, it's interesting to note that Phil Ivey's lawyer specializes in criminal cases and not civil cases, such as the DOJ's current complaint. While most believe Ivey never played a role in the company's day-to-day operations, which could preclude him from the same DOJ action faced by Lederer and others, some wonder if Ivey and his lawyer entered a deal with the Department of Justice in preparation for future criminal action, such as a RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization) or other corrupt organization charge, that seems to fit with the allegations of bank fraud and money laundering.
Since "Black Friday" unfolded, the relationship between Ivey and Full Tilt has been less than hospitable. In June, Ivey filed a lawsuit against Full Tilt "software provider" Tiltware LLC and publically expressed extreme dissatisfaction that the players remained unpaid. "My name and reputation have been dragged through the mud, through the inactivity and indecision of others and on behalf of all poker players I refuse to remain silent any longer," Ivey said in a statement. Full Tilt aggressively responded with claims that Ivey was only motivated by self-interests. "Phil Ivey's meritless lawsuit is about helping just one player himself..." read the statement. Although Ivey later dropped the lawsuit as an apparent effort to facilitate a deal between Full Tilt Poker and an investor, it seems naive to believe that no bad blood still remains between Ivey and Full Tilt.