Better late than never. Cliché or not, up to 7,400 former players on the defunct Cereus Poker Network, which included Black Friday-busted sites Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet, will receive a share of $33.5 million that has been approved by the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section of the Department of Justice.
The news of the first round of payments was reported by AbsolutePokerClaims.com, a site created to help customers of these poker sites get paid long-lost money owed.
In April, Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon Kim announced that Garden City Group (GCG) would “oversee a process of compensating eligible victims of fraud committed by Absolute Poker against United States players who were unable to withdraw funds from Absolute Poker” following Black Friday in April 2011.
When Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet were shut down by the DOJ in 2011, thousands of players had outstanding balances, much like customers of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.
Nearly all former American players on PokerStars and Full Tilt received their account balances by 2015. But the Cereus Poker Network had gone bankrupt and claimed to have no money to pay back players.
When PokerStars’ parent company (eventually purchased by Amaya Inc. and now called the Stars Group) purchased Full Tilt in 2012 as part of their settlement with the DOJ, part of the deal was for the new owners to pay FTP’s players. Stars held up its end of the bargain, but millions went unclaimed, and the DOJ is now using those leftover funds to pay back AP/UB players.
Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace
To receive their money, former customers of AP/UB must submit a claim by Sept. 7. This deadline has been extended a couple of times already.
Emails have been sent out to players scheduled to receive funds during the first round of paybacks. That includes CardsChat contributor Chad Holloway, who may no longer need to work for us after he is shipped the life-changing $27.35 from Absolute Poker.
A shocked Doug Polk said on Twitter it “blows my mind” that the players will finally receive money after waiting more than six years.
The first round of remission payments is set to be sent out to former customers for the total of $33.5 million. Each player will receive the last known balance of their UB or AP account. Approximately 7,400 people filed a petition for a claim. It’s unclear exactly how many of those claims were approved.
GCG will ship payments via bank transfer, and it is expected to take 4-6 weeks for the players to receive the funds.
Once all the payments are made, that will officially put an end to the nightmare that was Black Friday.