DOJ Approves Third Round of AP-UB Payments
Former players on UltimateBet and/or Absolute Poker who have yet to receive a payment from Garden City Group may be in luck. The claims administrator announced this month that a third round of payments is being distributed to those who filed petitions after the September 2017 deadline.
It is unclear if this is the last round of payments, but this will reimburse approximately 450 more victims of the online poker sites that disappeared after Black Friday.
First and Second Rounds
The US Department of Justice’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section allowed Garden City Group to handle petitions by players left abandoned by UltimateBet and Absolute Poker. The process began in 2017 with 1.2 million notices sent to players who were listed as having had accounts with some type of balances on those sites.
The process for these sites went rather quickly. While it took several years to complete the claims for Full Tilt Poker players, Garden City Group got the hang of it and moved much more quickly with these claims.
The initial round of payments for UB and AP victims was processed by June 9 for players with no disputed balances or other issues. Approximately 7,400 players received portions of that $33.5 million distribution.
The official deadline for the rest of the petitions was September 7, and all claims – no matter the disputes – were to have been submitted by that date in order to be processed. Those were all processed by the end of October, and approximately 4,600 players took their respective portions of the $3.7 million disbursement.
Third Round of Payments
Despite the deadline, a number of former UB and AP players submitted claims after September 7. In addition, there were still players who had disputes pending regarding their balances, and those conversations between players and Garden City Group administrators were ongoing. That meant some payments were still in the works as 2018 began.
And in mid-March, Garden City Group announced the approval of that third round of payments for those whose balances were confirmed and settled after the September deadline. A total of $1,084,200.97 will be distributed to approximately 450 people who petitioned for their funds.
The payments have been approved and will be made via electronic bank payments to those in the United States and by foreign currency check to those in the rest of the world. If those processes are not viable, there will be other arrangements made, per a Garden City Group email that players will receive to confirm payment methods. Players will simply need to provide the banking information requested in order to complete the process.
For anyone who has an outstanding debt with the US government, such as a tax amount or child support due, the payments will be offset by that amount. The Treasury Offset Program requires that any debts to the government be rectified as a priority. Garden City Group will contact these petitioners with the details and a special request form to receive any balance of the payment after the debt has been satisfied. Garden City Group has no control over this rule, and any issues must be addressed to the Treasury Department’s Offset Program services.
Another Round to Come?
It seems that there may still be some payments in the dispute resolution process or other late petitions that are being considered. The latest message on the Garden City Group website reads: “Petitioners should continue to check this website for updates regarding the payment process and this administration.”
Thus far, about 12,500 people have received or will receive confirmed payments. However, this is a relatively small number from the original 1.2 million notices that were sent at the beginning of the process for UltimateBet and Absolute Poker players. There may have been some very small balances that were not worth pursuing, but there may also be players in other countries or with new emails who may not have received notices from Garden City Group.
The claims administrator will try to resolve the final payments in the coming months. If there is another round of payments, it will likely be the last, and the process will be closed. It is unclear if Garden City Group will make a final announcement.
The claims website remains open and provides ways to contact GCG about pending balances. Any amounts unclaimed will likely go to the US government.