Star Maguire sued over $4m illegal hotel poker games
STAR Tobey Maguire and other celebrities are being sued for $4m (€2.7m) won during unlicensed poker games at plush 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 investment scheme.
The legal actions claim the clandestine Texas Hold'em matches were played between 2006 and 2009, where players won hundreds of thousands of dollars from Bradley Ruderman, architect of the Ponzi scheme.
Maguire is being sued for $311,000 (€217,000) plus interest. In all, 22 people have been sued to try to recoup money.
Among them was Nick Cassavetes, director of The Notebook. The trustee is attempting to recover nearly $73,000 dollars (€51,000) plus interest from the actor-director.
His lawyer, Ronald Richards, said Cassavetes engaged in no wrongdoing and may try to settle the case for a reduced amount or fight it on the basis that the money cannot be reclaimed.
The lawsuit cites only one 2007 game in which Cassavetes was involved. He was sued along with others who received a cheque from Ruderman.
However, the matches were not documented, so it was unclear if Ruderman lost the money himself or was paying for another player.
Also being sued is billionaire businessman Alec Gores, who along with his brother tried to buy Miramax Films last year.
Mr Gores is being sued for $445,000 (€311,000). In a statement, his lawyer Patricia Glaser said "there was nothing improper about the poker game".
Ruderman was sentenced to 10 years in 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 is trying to recoup money on behalf of people who invested in a Ponzi scheme organised by Ruderman.
The suits argue that the defendants have no right to keep money won from Ruderman, since the games did not have government licences.
Tournaments were held in luxury hotels in Beverly Hills and organised by a woman identified as Molly Bloom, who is being sued for nearly $475,000 (€332,000) paid to her by Ruderman.