Just when they thought it couldn’t get any worse – Full Tilt Poker CEOs Howard Lederer and Raymond Bitar are in for even more legal troubles. The prosecution has decided to charge the two men with violating the Travel Act 1961.
“Over $42,000,000 deposited into the Lederer Consulting Account were transferred into a personal bank account owned by Howard and Susan Lederer,” the complaint reads. "The funds were used to purchase/pay for real estate, renovations, new home construction costs, furniture, mortgage payments, property taxes, personal pension plans and 401K’s, and various personal vehicles”.
These new charges will add to what seem to be a never-ending list. In addition to operating an illegal online gambling site in America, Bitar and Lederer also used the website as a Ponzi scheme. As such, they paid themselves with player deposits rather than profits from the website and its operations. These crimes present the former CEOs with the possibility of spending dozens of years in jail – and with the Travel Act charges, it is unlikely that they will get off easy.
The 1961 Travel Act prohibits travel or the use of a particular facility to help an unlawful business carry out its practices. In this case, the law applies to the transfer of funds from Full Tilt Poker to the personal accounts of Bitar and Lederer. Although it is a loose interpretation of the law, it may hold up in court, considering the types of charges that the two men are already up against.