The two owners of the Players Poker Championship (PPC) Bryan Oulton and Sandy Swartzbaugh have been charged with fraud and racketeering in a civil lawsuit filed against them. The charges have been filed by four players who have not received their prize monies finishing at the final table of the PPC Aruba World Championship held last year in November.

Claiming that the two operators were running a Ponzi scheme, the plaintiffs have procured a restraining order from a county judge in Maryland with effect from Jan 3. The restraining order states that the PPC was conducting a Ponzi scheme in United States for a minimum of one year or possibly up to four years, and with the scheme reaching its final stage now, the operators had defrauded the plaintiffs of their winnings. The order bars the PPC from carrying out any business for the time being.

The lawsuit also names Maryland Live! casino as one of the defendants as a result of it being a host for a few of PPC’s tournaments. Charges against the company include abetting and misrepresentation. Mac VerStandig, the lawyer representing the four players has said that the lawsuit was filed after sufficient consideration.

In a statement, VerStandig said,

The filing of a civil racketeering claim is not something any attorney considers lightly. But the facts of this case do appear to be so uniquely dismaying as to give rise to such a claim, and it is accordingly a part of the suit.

The lawsuit charges PPC operators Oulton and Swartzbaugh of failing to segregate player funds, utilizing them instead to fulfill other financial obligations. A letter of warning over the filing of formal charges had been sent to PPC last month by the lawyer, demanding payout of the pending $173,000 to players Stephen Deutsch, Joan Sandoval, and Michael Lerner. A fourth player John Ott, who was at fifth place winning $32,085, has since joined hands with others for the lawsuit.

According to one media report, PPC officials had reportedly given multiple assurances to players until Dec. 22 that the money would be paid. The last time was on Dec 24 when Swartzbaugh reached out urging some of the plaintiffs to accept a part of the PPC's cash flow in lieu of outstanding cash.

VerStandig has pointed out that the monies could have been transferred to external parties, which was why the suit lists 10 John Does which would allow defendants to be added as and when new facts emerge.

Categories: Poker News

Posted on: 6th January 2017 by: Gary Beachley