Scam artist uses online poker sites to gamble takings

An American businessman alleged to have scammed consumers out of at least $275 million in the state of Utah has been found to have gambled said ill-gotten assets away playing poker online.

Jeremy Johnson

Jeremy Johnson

The world’s two largest online poker rooms, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, are involved in the large-scale expenditure of multi-million dollar assets that were frozen by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as part of an investigation into how those assets were made.

Jeremy Johnson, according to the Las Vegas Sun, has gambled away the money he was told to preserve by the FTC. The amount Johnson is alleged to have scammed out of  consumers through his companies, I Works and Elite Debit, that lured clients into acquiring trial memberships for phony services and then repeatedly charging their credit and debit cards monthly fees. Johnson has denied the FTC allegations.

After U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson issued a temporary restraining order that freezed Johnson and his companies’ assets 13 January, the government had expected to be able to seize and liquidate the money in question towards paying back the alleged victims.

A court-appointed receiver company that analyzed Johnson’s affairs discovered that “$59 million was dissipated by supporting lavish lifestyles and investments in real properties, aircraft, vehicles, businesses, brokerage trading accounts, precious metals, and was distributed or loaned to family, friends, and related entities.” FTC investigator Samuel Jacobson declared in court on Wednesday that Johnson was a regular gambler at Wynn Las Vegas, a number of MGM casinos and played at Full Tilt Poker.

The owner of Full Tilt, Tiltware LLC, provided the FTC with information on Johnson’s expenditure on the Website. Under the username “ginette22”, Johnson is shown to have been a   fixture at the high-stakes heads-up sit and gos on Full Tilt during 2010.  Johnson lost $1.536 million on Full Tilt Poker between Between and October of last year, the FTC investigator Jacobson has claimed.

Johnson has declared: “I gambled with money that I earned from my companies and since I no longer have any of that, it’s been a really good cure for me, my addiction. Sometimes I’d win a lot of money and then I’d think in my mind – I’d try that same way and do it again, and it didn’t work and didn’t work… And you’d lose even more trying to win what you had before.”


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