Please Know that Your Funds are Safe and Secure
On the 2+2 PokerCast this week, Howard Lederer said the following when asked about Full Tilt’s use of language post-Black Friday:
I don’t believe that “safe and secure”... that those words would have been used after April 20. And if it did happen, it happened without me knowing about it.
The following is a partial screenshot from the center of the homepage of the FullTiltPoker.com website. This message, shown below the domain seizure notice, was front-and-center of the website for the entire time that Full Tilt continued to accept non-US deposits:
Full Tilt Poker continued to operate for over two months following the seizure of their domain name and withdrawal from the US market. They took deposits from players right up until June 30, when the AGCC suspended their license.
During this time, it was known by Howard Lederer from April 20 that Full Tilt did not have the money to cover the majority of players’ money.
Lederer states that all language after April 20 was “all being signed off … there was complete transparency with the lawyers who were approving the language.”
Here’s more samples of such approved language. On April 28, an official statement posted by “FTPDoug” on the 2+2 poker forums (emphasis added):
While there is some fallout from the US situation on non-US withdrawals (mostly in the form of delays), we won’t have any problems paying out Euro (or any other) players, even after players in the US have their withdrawals processed.
A statement on May 5:
FTP’s international business operations are returning to normal while we focus on ensuring the safe and orderly return of US player deposits.
On May 15:
FTP’s worldwide business is healthy and, although we’ve had some short-term challenges, it is operating as normal.
These are all lies designed to encourage non-US players to continue to play and deposit on the website. And FTP went beyond just these approved messages.
On April 22—two days after Lederer arrived in Dublin and discovered the massive shortfall in deposits—non-US Full Tilt players received “The Added Bonus,” generous gifts up to $500 each to anyone who did not withdraw and continued to play.
This free bonus money, just like the majority of player deposits, did not exist.
Howard Lederer maintains that every action after April 20 had the sole goal of getting back player deposits, and that language like “safe and secure” was removed from the site.
On the contrary, players were repeatedly misdirected regarding the security of deposits, and were dangled carrots of more money—money that Full Tilt did not have—to prevent mass-withdrawals.
The US courts will decide whether these actions constitute fraud. But there is no doubt that players were lied to.