Spiderman gets sued for playing poker
The poker world has been talking about this one most of the day today, and it’s kind of interesting….I guess. Let me set the stage first: Back in 2009 a guy named Bradley Ruderman who was a Beverly Hills hedge fund manage was criminally charged in a federal court in Los Angeles for bilking investors out of about $44 million in a wire fraud scheme. His hedge funds were shut down by the federal judge and the company Ruderman Capital Partners. Basically Ruderman had raised the money claiming that he’d yield returns as high as 60% through stakes in high-profile companies such as Apple Inc., Microsoft, and Walmart.
Well it turns out that Ruderman was just a scam artist as he spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $8.7 million of the investor money on things like a summer rental on Malibu’s Carbon Beach and few Porsches. Then, he dropped a reported $5.2 million of investor money at the high stakes Hollywood Poker games that were very popular between 2007-2009. Well it turns out that $5.2 million is actually closer to $25 million and the investors are pissed, and want it back…deservedly so.
Unfortunately, Ruderman Capital Partners LLC’s Chapter 7 Trustee is now going after the wrong guy filing a civil lawsuit against one of the poker winners. Ruderman lost a large sum of money to actor and poker player Tobey Maguire (yeah…Spiderman) in many of the high stakes cash games. About 30 different wire transfers were made by Ruderman to Spidey based on Maguires big winnings at the table (reportedly around $300k from Ruderman alone according to the suit). So the Trustee though, “Hey let’s just sue Spiderman. Dude has a lot of money. We’re a shoe in to get paid.” Um…yeah….think again.
The lawsuit claims that the games were set up by Molly Bloom, an assistant to one of the other poker players and that the games were illegal because Molly Bloom is not a licensed gaming operator. The private games at destinations like the L.A. Four Seasons, and the Beverly Hills Hotel, featured invite only crowds that drew the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Gabe Kaplan (of Welcome Back, Kotter and High Stakes Poker Host), Nick Cassavetes (the Notebook director), and a few others. The buy in for the game was reportedly $100,000 and the game was No-Limit Hold’em. Maguire, who has been confirmed as an awesome cash game player among the Hollywood scene cleaned up regularly, and thus became the big target for the suit. You can read the whole complaint here.
I can’t see this lawsuit sticking at all. I mean, the guy that they need to go after here is Ruderman, not the person who won the money by playing poker. Maguire is unfortunately put in a spot where he is going to have to defend himself, but if this thing ever actually sees the inside of a courtroom, I’ll be shocked. Nevertheless, I thought it was an interesting enough story to post something on. The games haven’t triggered any actual attention from authorities, so no criminal charges are being brought. This is just a civil suit at the moment. But now that the attention from the media has shifted onto the games, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Uncle Sam stick their nose in and the IRS may look to get it’s cut of the action. Well played guys.