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$1.8 Million Distributed in Latest Full Tilt Poker Refunds

Garden City Group (GCG) has announced the distribution of a small wave of Full Tilt Poker refunds to former United States players.  The arrival of this latest refund round, first announced by GCG two weeks ago, was initially announced by Poker Players Alliance executive director John Pappas after receiving updates from Department of Justice officials.

full-tilt-logoPosting on the 2+2 poker forums, Pappas advised affected players that transactions comprising the latest batch of remission payments would begin arriving on late Wednesday, and numerous players duly reported receiving e-mail notices and deposits in the hours that followed.

GCG, which in 2012 was appointed by the US Department of Justice, is mailing out approximately $1.8 million in electronic refunds in this latest wave, which is expected to run through Friday.  A brief update from GCG read as follows:

INFORMATION REGARDING THE NEXT ROUND OF PAYMENTS

On September 25, 2014, GCG issued nearly 600 payments totaling approximately $1.8 million to Petitioners who submitted complete, timely or late Petitions confirming their FTP Account Balance. Please note that while many Petitioners will receive their ACH on the same day that it was issued, depending on the practices of the Petitioner’s bank, the ACH may not be received for several business days.

Reminder for certain Petitioners who were not included in this round of payments:

If you received a notice that your bank account information is incorrect or incomplete, please update your account information online by October 16.

If you received a notice because you have a debt qualifying for collection through the Treasury Offset Program, please send your completed Unified Financial Management System Vendor Request Form to GCG as soon as possible.

Please continue to check this website for information regarding the next round of payments to approved Petitioners.

The 600 payments and $1.8 million total appear as large numbers but represent only about 2% of the total of former account of US-based Full Tilters who have been refunded to date.  More than 30,000 American customers of the site, which exited the US market following April, 2011’s Black Friday, have received refunds totaling nearly $100 million.

International (non-US) players of Full Tilt prior to 2011 were refunded separately as part of a complex settlement between the US Department of Justice and PokerStars, which acquired Full Tilt as part of the deal and continues to operate the site today.

As for the ongoing US refund process, PPA executive director Pappas also advised that the ongoing process for players with disputed account balances or other special considerations remains an exceptional challenge.  Several thousand accounts are being examined by GCG on a case-by-case basis, and according to Pappas, the remission process is likely to extend into 2015.

According to Pappas, “The news is not so great for those of us with disputed claims, but any news is progress. For petitioners who filed a disputed claim — but in the view of the Garden City did not provide sufficient or clear evidence of this dispute — they should expect an email within 60 days notifying them of issues with respect to their claim and be given a time frame in which to provide clarifying information/evidence.”

Pappas continued by offering a timeline and categorizing the types of disputed accounts still being considered by GCG.  “If you do not receive notification,” he added, “then you should assume there is no issue with your disputed claim. If you do not receive notification within 60 days your claim likely falls into two categories. 1) Cash outs near the time of Black Friday (either before or after) where a transfer of funds was never completed or a check bounced. They are still determining the time frame for which these ‘cashouts’ will be accepted as owed to the player without the player having to provide additional documentation. 2) Small discrepancies relative to the overall claim. These will likely be approved without serious investigation by Garden City or additional information provided by the player. I did not get a definition of ‘small discrepancies’ but I suspect it would need to be less than 10 percent of your claim to be considered “small.” Again, this is just my supposition.”

Pappas concluded by noting that players still waiting should buckle in for even more of a wait.  “If after review of a claim, GCG/DOJ does not agree with the amount requested, the petitioner will be afforded an opportunity to appeal the decision. This process is separate from the deficiency notice process detailed above,” he wrote.

“However, (and this is where the news really disappoints) it is unlikely that any disputed claims will be audited and approved for disbursement until Q1 2015. Based on my conversation and this information, it appears there is still much work for Garden City to complete. The wait has been torturous for many and we hope that no one will have to wait beyond early next year to be paid. I expect to have more conversations with the DOJ over the coming weeks and will provide the community with updates as I get new information.”

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