First Set of UB-AP Payments Ready for Distribution
Approximately 7,400 former Absolute Poker and UltimateBet players around the world are breathing a sigh of relief this week. The first round of payments has been authorized, and banking details are being confirmed to send nearly $33.5 million their way.
It has been more than six years since Black Friday, the day that the United States Department of Justice indicted executives from some of the largest online poker companies in the world. The domains were seized, and monies in the online accounts were frozen indefinitely, leaving players to wonder what would happen to everything from their favorite pastime to their livelihoods. And while PokerStars worked quickly to assure its players that their funds were safe and soon to be returned, the same couldn’t be said for Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and UltimateBet. PokerStars eventually stepped in to help the Full Tilt players via its fines paid to the US government, as the Garden City Group processed payments for them over the five years after Black Friday.
UB and Absolute players were not so lucky, and for a long time, it seemed as if the victims of that online poker company would never be made whole. However, a surprise came in 2017 when Garden City Group contacted those players to inform them that a remissions process was in place for them, too.
As it turned out, there were still funds remaining from the fines paid to the US government by PokerStars, and it only made sense to help the rest of the Black Friday victims.
The Process Began…
On April 13, 2017, two days before the sixth anniversary of Black Friday, Garden City Group revealed that it had completed mailings to approximately 1.2 million people who had funds in accounts on Absolute Poker and UltimateBet. A website was established to answer questions and help players through the process of submitting petitions for remission to the Attorney General of the US.
Players from the US and around the world began sending information to confirm their balances or file a dispute to correct the numbers. And the Department of Justice’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section began to rule on petitions soon after.
The entire process seemed to move along much faster than when Garden City Group first began processing payments for Full Tilt Poker victims, as it now had experience with the online poker industry and its players, lingo, account setups, and possible dispute scenarios.
Payments in Process
The very first filing deadline was June 9, and those who verified their claims or submitted new petitions within that time frame are going to reap the rewards in the coming weeks. The DOJ approved the first round of payments last week and confirmed that the distribution will include nearly $33.5 million to be paid to approximately 7,400 people.
Players began to receive emails last week from Garden City Group with a request to submit or confirm banking information so the payments can be made via electronic ACH payments in as many cases as possible. Those who still need to confirm their banking details can do so on the GCG website by simply inputting their petition and control numbers, followed by verifying their identification by last name, player account name, or zip code on record with Absolute Poker or UltimateBet.
Those living outside of the US will receive a foreign currency check or, in extreme cases, a check in US dollars or a wire in foreign currency depending upon the country of residence. That particular payment information should be included in the confirmation emails from Garden City Group.
Anyone who is due a payment from Absolute Poker or UltimateBet but also has a delinquent debt to the US government will have a chance to qualify for participation in the Treasury Offset Program to satisfy part or all of that debt with the Garden City Group remission. Those details are also in the emails sent last week, or individuals can contact 1-800-304-3107 to discuss the program.
More Chances to Claim
There are likely players not approved for the first round of payments, those with disputes or affiliate-related issues, or anyone who found out about the process more recently. There is another deadline set for September 7, giving players several more weeks to file their claims. The Garden City Group website contains all of the pertinent information for petitions, questions, and contact numbers for more complicated cases.
While the September 7 deadline may not be final, it is the last one listed by Garden City Group.