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29 November 2011

Tobey Maguire Pays $80,000; Lawsuit Settled Over High-Stakes Hollywood Poker Games, by Greg Tingle - 28th November 2011

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Tobey Maguire Ben Affleck Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon

Tobey Maguire (aka Peter Parker from Spider-Man) has reached an $80,000 settlement with U.S prosecutors over his involvement (playing) in high stakes Hollywood Poker games.

Earlier this year, the popular actor was one of 22 punters sued for winning money in allegedly illegal poker games from a Beverly Hills hedge fund top brass who was convicted of running a Ponzi Scheme. This past Wednesday, the parties filed court papers in bankruptcy court revealing that Maguire has agreed to part with $80,000 to be released from ongoing litigation meant to recoup money for those who got duped by the fraud.

Maguire was one of many Hollywood insiders who participated in high-stakes poker games at lush Beverly Hills hotels with Brad Ruderman, the CEO of Ruderman Capital Partners.

His good mate and poker playing pal, Leonardo DiCaprio, is understood to be pleased that he wasn't fined, and is being discrete about his gambling (and women), as much as the press might try to juice things up.

Ruderman was later convicted of wire fraud and investment fraud and is now locked up in a Texas jail as the trustee of Ruderman Capital attempts to locate as much as possible of the $25 million allegedly lost in these Hollywood poker games. Among the other celeb identified in a lawsuit launched last June were The Notebook director Nick Cassavetes, Welcome Back Kotter star Gabe Kaplan, and record label owner Cody Leibel. Other stars including Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck were also reportedly involved in the poker games, with $50,000 buy-ins (but they were not sued).

Maguire allegedly pocketed more than $300,000 in poker, but in the lawsuit, the bankruptcy judge alleged the poker was unlicensed and that the winnings were ill-gotten gains from Ruderman's clients.

On Wednesday, in court filings, the trustee revealed a settlement with Maguire. Per the agreement, the star of Spider-Man paid $80,000 and represented to the best of his knowledge that he has not received any more monies than those poker winnings from Ruderman. Maguire also disavows any knowledge of the Ponzi scheme and agrees not to make any claim on the bankrupt estate.

The settlement will need to be approved by a judge. A hearing date of Dec. 21 has been put down to consider the motion for settlement.

According to the court paperwork, the parties entered into a settlement agreement to avoid the expense and risk of further litigation. In making the case that the settlement represents the best interests of the estate, Howard Ehrenberg, the Chapter 7 trustee for Ruderman Capital points out that the lawsuit raised "several complex issues of law and fact," including "whether Maguire provided value to the Debtor in relation to the poker games and whether certain of the transfers from Ruderman to Maguire constitute funds of the Debtor."

Maguire signed the settlement agreement himself on Nov. 18, and if approved by the judge, he will be released from ongoing case. Maguire was represented by Robert Barta at Rosoff Schiffres & Barta.

Hollywood poker players are understood to be laying low, until the case blows over, with some stars being advised to stay clear of poker for a while to help keep them away from potential problems.

Websites

Spider-Man (Sony Pictures)

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Leonardo DiCaprio official website

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Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire told to ease off high stakes poker, by Greg Tingle

Now we know another reason that movie stars Leo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire have enjoyed quite a bit of their time in 'Sin City' Sydney, Australia - they like a punt, and are fans of Australian land based casinos, with The Star being at the top of their list for the meantime. It's not known for certain if the twosome have played poker or gambled on Australian soil, but take a wild guess.

Many Hollywood (and AussieWood) stars love to gamble, and high-stakes poker is one of their favourite games. Privacy is high on their priorities and it's known that some forms of gambling don't sit well with the law in some parts of the world, including in the United States.

It's understood that Tobey Maguire and mates Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck are long time high stakes poker fans and may have participated in quite a few private games played mainly in Los Angeles and New York.

The word is that the FBI is probing into alleged Russian mob connections to those big dollar games.

A few months ago there was a lawsuit filed against Maguire claiming a big Wall Street investment guy paid his gambling debts with funds inappropriately acquired from his firm’s investors.

A longtime associate of both DiCaprio and Maguire is understood to have said "As much as those boys love to gamble, they don’t need this kind of hassle...It seems clear that a number of very unsavory people have used their own huge wealth to weasel their way into those games.

"No one needs a Frank Sinatra problem these days," added the leak, referring to the Mafia connections that followed Ol’ Blue Eyes most of his life.

DiCaprio and Maguire are currently enjoying a working holiday of Australia and both gents have been spotted at The Star (entertainment complex and casino - ex Star City Casino) more than once.

'Our Leo' is staring in The Great Gatsby. Maguire is not working Spider-Man, but has a number of exciting projects in the works. May the best player, er, actor Win.

All of this while online gaming companies such as Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, which owns the World Poker Tour, attempts to get the green light from the US government to offer Americans totally legal online poker games.

Media Man is following up the story, and understands that McGuire is close to coming to terms with prosecutors on the Hollywood Poker investigation.

Websites

The Star

Spider-Man (Sony Pictures)

Spider-Man (Marvel Entertainment)

Frank Sinatra Enterprises

Leonardo DiCaprio official website

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PartyCasino.com Sinatra Slot game

PartyCasino.com Marvel Slots

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