The owners and operators of the Players Poker Championship (PPC), Bryan Oulton and Sandy Swartzbaugh, are facing a lawsuit charging them with racketeering, corruption and fraud. The suit alleges the pair was operating PPC as a ponzi scheme and comes after the company failed to pay out the full prize pool at events.
A complaint was filed by attorney Maurice “Mac” VerStandig on behalf of four players: Stephen Deutsch, Michael Lerner, John Ott, and Joan Sandoval.
“The filing of a civil racketeering claim is not something any attorney considers lightly,” VerStandig told PokerNews. “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 four players all made it to the final table of the PPC Aruba $2,400 Main Event last November, but still haven’t been awarded their full prizes, which VerStandig claims is at least $173,000.
“PPC was, in essence, operating as a Ponzi scheme at all times relevant, utilizing funds obtained for one purpose to pay individuals owed funds for another purpose, constantly masking this chronic misappropriation until such a time as an insufficient flow of new monies proved inadequate to make good on extant obligations including, inter alia, payment of the Remaining Funds to the Plaintiffs,” the complaint reads.
Maryland Live! Casino, a host of a few PPC events, was named in the suit which alleges aiding and abetting negligence, and negligent misrepresentation.
According to PokerNews, PPC sent the players a series of emails in the weeks leading up to Dec. 22nd. These emails assured the plaintiffs that their money was on it’s way. Two days later, Swartzbaugh sent an email pleading with players to accept a request that “asked at least one of the plaintiffs to defer rights to prize money and instead accept an undefined portion of the PPC’s cash flow.”
A Maryland state court also granted a request for a restraining order and the litigation is pending.
Featured photo credit: PokerNews.
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