Martin Kwedar

Gaming Attorney A. Jeff Ifrah Moves to Dismiss Chad Elie Malpractice Lawsuit

ifrahProminent gaming attorney A. (Alain) Jeff Ifrah, closely connected to the fortunes of Full Tilt throughout its pre-Black Friday years, has filed a blanket motion to dismiss the legal malpractice action brought against him by convicted Black Friday payment processor Chad Elie in April.

Ifrah represented Elie briefly in legal matters as part of a complex, tangled trail of payment-processing dealing traceable to the collapse of Daniel Tzvetkoff’s high-flying Intabill processing operation.  Elie, a minor player in that operation, subsequently helped steer Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars into the ill-fated SunFirst Bank of Utah processing operation that would become the core of the US Department of Justice’s successful crackdown against Stars, Tilt and Absolute Poker.

Elie’s lawsuit against Ifrah two months ago included several serious allegations, including:

  • That Ifrah, during the timeframe he was representing Elie in another matter, withheld an important legal clarification that Elie claims would have dissuaded him from continuing to process online-poker payments;
  • That Elie was guilty of negligence in that other matter, in which he allegedly missed a filing deadline and left Elie and a different business entity of Elie’s Viable Marketing, open to a default judgment in a separate e-marketing dispute;
  • That Ifrah himself served as one of the US government’s key secret witnesses in the DOJ’s long-running Black Friday investigation, and turned state’s evidence in exchange for not being prosecuted himself.

(For a more in-depth look at the strange tale of how Elie and Ifrah ended up working with each other, visit FlushDraw’s exclusive three-part series on the relationship — Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3.)

Ifrah’s response to Elie’s complaint, filed on June 1st, includes a blanket call for the dismissal of Elie’s claims.  According to Ifrah and his own legal representatives, seven of the eight legal arguments offered by Elie are rendered null by Elie’s own admissions of guilt in the “Black Friday” proceedings, in which Elie voluntarily offered many of the details of the SunFirst operation to DOJ prosecutors in exchange for possible sentencing leniency.  (Elie remains incarcerated in a federal work camp in California.)

As for the eighth claim, the malpractice action against Ifrah, Ifrah alleges it to be both “meritless” and “unripe”, and that Elie “has suffered no injury or damages” as a direct cause of the alleged misbehavior.  Combined with the “unclean hands” argument regarding the other seven points of Elie’s revised complaint, Ifrah has then moved for a summary dismissal of the action.

Ifrah’s motion to dismiss also includes a heated reply from Ifrah regarding Elie’s own character and motives.  The core of that response:

Plaintiff’s Complaint is a string of dishonest attacks offered by a confirmed liar who admitted under oath to willfully lying to banks for pecuniary gain for years. Apparently, the remorse Plaintiff expressed to the criminal court for his dishonesty was a sham, because he continues to lie with impunity in his present Complaint. Nearly everything negative Plaintiff alleges about Defendants in his Complaint is a fabrication. It brings Defendants no pleasure to use such strong language in a judicial proceeding, but the deplorable mendacity of Plaintiff’s Complaint warrants such a response.

One day soon, Plaintiff will face legal consequences for his fraudulent attempt to destroy Defendants’ excellent professional reputation.

Elsewhere in the motion to dismiss, Ifrah confirms that he was approached by SDNY prosecutors to be a witness in the separate case of Intabill v. Elie, in which PokerStars sought to recover $4 million removed by Elie from a California poker-processing bank account in Elie’s control, part of the complex relationship described in the linked stories above.

Ifrah’s motion to dismiss does not discuss the Black Friday secret-witness allegations, sidestepping the matter by noting that if the counter-allegations are true, “plaintiff cannot pierce the corporate veil.”

The case remains active before the United States District Court of Nevada.

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