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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Spider-Man Tobey Maguire Star Caught In Web Of Gambling Ring; Leonardo DiCaprio Rounders Up, by Greg Tingle - 23rd June 2011

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Spider-Man star... Mr Spider-Man himself, Tobey Maguire, is one of a dozen or Hollywood stars being sued in connection with an illegal gambling ring that allegedly ran multi-million dollar underground poker games.

And you wonder why Hollywood so embraced the popular poker themed game 'Rounders'.

According to the suit, Maguire took more than $US300,000 worth of illegal funds embezzled from hedge fund investor Bradley Ruderman, who is currently in jail for a ponzi scheme.

The underground games, allegedly led by Ruderman, CEO of Ruderman Capital Partners, were unlicenced and thus illegal under California law.

According to the investigation, Ruderman lost $US25 million of investor money in the games, which were held bi-weekly in luxurious suites at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Viper Room and Four Seasons Hotel.

With Ruderman's company now in bankruptcy, trustees are attempting to seize some of Maguire's winnings to pay off creditors.

Nick Cassavetes, who directed The Notebook, and Welcome Back, Kotter star Gabe Kaplan are among the names facing hefty lawsuits for their participation in the high stakes Texas Hold'em games, according to leaks and a range of online and traditional media outlets.

Other stars who allegedly took part in the gatherings, which had a buy-in of $US100,000, included 'Catch Me If You Can' megastar Leonardo DiCaprio, Good Will Hunting actor Ben Affleck and Bourne star Matt Damon. Damon was also in the poker themed movie 'Rounders'.

Tens of millions of dollars is understood to have changed hands in the illegal games.

Marvel Entertainment does not offer marvel themed poker games but does offer Marvel Entertainment themed online slot games, available in website portals such as Media Man Int and via online gaming brands such as Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment and Richard Branson's Virgin Casino. PartyCasino.com, the online casino leading brand by Bwin.Party is understood to be in negotiation with both the United States, Canadian and Australian governments regarding b2 gaming. Party came to a settlement with the United States Department Of Justice two years ago to the tune of approximately $100 million, and are looking to expand gaming in the U.S beyond their World Poker Tour brand.

Who are you betting on? Spider-Man or the 'Catch Me If You Can' man? Maybe you would prefer not to say and just place a silent bet!

Tobey Maguire sued over illegal poker winnings...

Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire and other celebrities have been caught in a web of lawsuits seeking to reclaim more than $US4 million ($3.8 million) won during unlicensed poker matches at upscale Beverly Hills hotels, court records show.

The lawsuits were filed by a bankruptcy trustee attempting to recoup money for investors who were duped in a Ponzi scheme.

The legal actions claim the clandestine Texas Hold 'em matches were played between 2006 and 2009, with some of the money taken in the Ponzi scheme used to pay off debts incurred by its architect, Bradley Ruderman.

Maguire is being sued for $US311,000 plus interest that the lawsuit says was won from Ruderman. In all, 22 people have been individually sued to try to recoup money.

Among them was Nick Cassavettes, director of The Notebook. The trustee is attempting to recover nearly $US73,000 plus interest from the actor-director.

Maguire's attorney, Robert Barta, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment but was expected to file a response to the suit later this week.

Cassavettes's agent Jeff Berg also did not immediately respond to a phone message.
Also being sued is billionaire businessman Alec Gores, who along with his brother attempted to buy Miramax Films last year.

Gores is being sued for $US445,500. Phone message left for Frank Stefanik, a spokesman at The Gores Group, and his attorney, Patricia Glaser, were not immediately returned.

Ruderman was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison earlier this year after pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud, two counts of investment adviser fraud and willful failure to file taxes.

Bankruptcy trustee Howard Ehrenberg filed the lawsuits in late March, attempting to recoup money on behalf of people who invested in what the legal action called a Ponzi scheme organised by Ruderman.

The suits contend the defendants have no right to keep money won from Ruderman, since the games did not have the appropriate government licenses.

Tournaments were held in luxury hotels in Beverly Hills and organised by a woman identified as Molly Bloom, who is being sued for nearly $US475,000 paid to her by Ruderman, the lawsuits said.

The claims were first reported Wednesday by RadarOnline and Star Magazine. (Credit: AP)

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