A group of eight high-stakes poker players have filed a RICO complaint against Excapsa Software, claiming that employees of the former owners of Ultimate Bet stole at least $20 million from plaintiffs and other high-stakes poker players.
The group of plaintiffs, which include poker pros Brad Booth, Tom Koral, Dustin Woolf and Daniel Smith, claim they lost $2 million during games in which their hole cards were accessible to Ultimate Bet employees playing under mysterious user names. Lead plaintiff Daniel Ashman says the cheating scandal has "been the subject of intense public interest and scrutiny."
The defendants in the complaint are 6356095 Canada Inc. (Excapsa Software) and 10 John Does.
The complaint reads: "UltimateBet (aka Ultimatebet.com) is an online poker and gambling website that has and continues to serve players in the United States. 6356095 Canada, Inc. (formerly Excapsa Software, Inc. or 'Excapsa') and Does 1-10 are holding companies, licensing entities, marketing companies, software firms, and individuals organized in or residing in jurisdictions throughout the world that developed software for and/or operated UltimateBet by and through which owners of Excapsa sought to direct and shield its illegal and fraudulent activities from courts, police, and tax authorities. Individual Doe defendants are owners, operators, officers, employees, and/or agents of Excapsa. While UltimateBet is not itself a legal entity, it is the vehicle through which defendants operated various conspiracies to defraud plaintiffs and the broader public.
"Since at least June 2003 and until at least January 2008 Excapsa/UltimateBet did conspire to and did direct, effect, and permit the theft of over $2 million held in plaintiffs' online poker accounts at UltimateBet.com. Specifically, by creating and making use of an intentional a security flaw in the UltimateBet.com software, and with the assistance of owners, agents, and employees of Excapsa and its various subsidiaries that operated UltimateBet, defendants either allowed others to or did directly view plaintiffs 'hole cards' during high-stakes poker matches run at UltimateBet.com.
"With the assistance of owners, operators, officers, employees, and/or agents of Excapsa and its subsidiaries, the cheaters were further able to change their online identities to avoid detection and to improperly funnel their illicit proceeds through various UltimateBet accounts in a manner that would have been impossible without insider assistance. Through these activities, defendants stole or caused to be stolen at least 20 million dollars from plaintiffs and other high-stakes poker players at games run by UltimateBet."
The players seek an injunction and damages for RICO conspiracy, conversion, interference with prospective economic advantage, intentional infliction of emotional distress, unfair business practices, fraud and negligence, according to the complaint. They are represented by Alan Engle with Meador & Engle of Anaheim Hill, Calif.