DOJ Files Second Amended Complaint; Alleges Lederer Funded Assets with Unlawful Proceeds
On Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, the United States Department of Justice filed a Second Amended Civil Complaint involving the online poker indictments from April 15, 2011, introducing new forfeiture charges against Howard Lederer and Ray Bitar including houses and automobiles purchased with “illegal proceeds.”
The Second Amended Complaint also added the Travel Act 18 U.S.C. § 1952 as a Federal criminal statute in support of their forfeiture request. The Travel Act essentially forbids the use of “interstate and foreign travel of transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises.” The inclusion of the Travel Act gives the DOJ another statute to rely on in addition to the IGBA and Wire Act.
The Second Amended Complaint also gives a detailed account of Lederer’s expenditures from the end of 2006 up until September 2011. All told, the complaint shows that $44,314,997.31 associated with criminal conduct was deposited into his various bank accounts. That included $3,654,654.35 paid through personal accounts to Merlin Contracting & Development, LLC for the construction of a main home and guest house in or around 2007. In addition, the complaint alleges $6,859,070 was paid “from the Lederer Personal Account, the Lederer Consulting Account and through cashier’s checks in connection with the construction of the main house.”
Furthermore, records indicate Lederer used illegal funds for retirement funds, mortgage payments, property taxes, and to purchase numerous vehicles—including a 2008 Maserati GranTurismo, 2008 Audi Q7, 2008 Audi A8L, 2009 Audi A8, 2012 Audi A8 L Quattro and a 1965 Shelby Cobra.
The complaint also lists purchases for Bitar including two homes in Glendora, California. Specific expenditures were not listed for defendants Chris Ferguson and Rafe Furst.
Because the listed expenditures can be traced to an “illegal enterprise,” the DOJ seeks forfeitures in the following amounts:
- Howard Lederer—$42.5 million
- Chris Ferguson—$42 million
- Ray Bitar—$40.8 million
- Rafe Furst—$11.7 million
The complaint also included eight more “Claims for Relief,” bringing the total to 12 . The claims, if true, would justify the DOJ's request for the aforementioned forfeitures. Here are the 12 Claims for Relief:
- Illegal Gambling
- Travel Act Offenses
- Bank and Wire Fraud
- Wire Fraud
- Promotion Money Laundering and Conspiracy
- Concealment Money Laundering and Conspiracy
- International Money Laundering and Conspiracy
- Bulk Money Laundering and Conspiracy
- Promotion Money Laundering and Conspiracy Relating to Full Tilt Fraud Against Players
- Concealment Money Laundering and Conspiracy Relating to Full Tilt Fraud Against Players
- International Money Laundering and Conspiracy Relating to Full Tilt Fraud Against Players
- Bulk Money Laundering and Conspiracy Relating to Full Tilt Fraud Against Players.
Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.