Absolute Poker Victims May Now Apply for Refunds Related to Cereus Fraud
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York announced today that U.S. online poker players affected by the fraud at Cereus will have the opportunity to file a remission claim.
Cereus was comprised of Absolute Poker and UltimateBet. The company and two of its executives were indicted on Black Friday.
Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, stated in a press release that the Garden City Group would handle remission claims. This is the same company that handled Full Tilt Poker claims. Kim took over for Preet Bharara, who was the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York until the Trump Administration relieved him of his duties last month.
Players must file a claim by June 9, 2017. The claims website is Absolutepokerclaims.com. While UltimateBet is not mentioned in the press release, players on the Cereus skin report successful filing of claims related to it.
Remission claims only apply to the actual cash balance of an Absolute Poker or UltimateBet account. Unpaid rakeback, tournament tickets, pending bonuses, player points or any other promotion will not be paid by the claims process. All promotional funds are considered lost.
Affiliates and insiders will not be paid, according to the terms of the remission process. This may also include prop players and anyone else that received regular internal transfers from site management. Affiliates and sponsored pro players at Full Tilt Poker were not paid.
Absolute Poker and UltimateBet owed an estimated $50 million to players on Black Friday. The company only had about 10 percent of that amount in cash on Black Friday. While some cash was seized on Black Friday by federal law enforcement, much of it is believed to have been used to pay cheating victims at Absolute Poker and UltimateBet. Cereus raked and paid out an estimated $5 million in the months after Black Friday, lowering its estimated liability to about $45 million, according to a former company employee.
Brent Beckley and Scott Tom were named in the Black Friday indictment. Beckley pleaded guilty and served 10 months of a 14-month sentence. Tom recently turned himself in to authorities earlier this year. He is currently under house arrest awaiting settlement of the case.
Garden City Group paid $118 million in Full Tilt Poker remission payments to affected players. There were a total of 44,320 successful claims paid. A total of 53,220 total claims were filed. The money used for Absolute Poker and UltimateBet victims is believed to be leftover from funds that went unclaimed from the Full Tilt Poker settlement.