A month ago, former Absolute Poker (AP) customers who had their funds stolen by the site’s owners when AP disappeared after Black Friday saw the first wave of refunds hit their bank accounts. Those people who did not receive their money but still submitted valid claims should be seeing their money in the near future. The Garden City Group (GCG), the Department of Justice-selected claims administrator, recently announced the second wave of payments has been approved.
The GCG wrote on its site that “within the next few weeks,” all those who submitted approved petitions will be notified via e-mail with the dollar amount they will be receiving plus the method of payment. Instructions will be included on how to submit banking information for electronic transfers.
Those who owe money to the government will also receive their money if their petitions were approved, but they will have money taken out to settle their outstanding debt. From the GCG message:
GCG will also be sending an email notice to certain Petitioners who were approved for payment and were identified as having a delinquent debt qualifying for collection through the Treasury Offset Program. Payments for these Petitioners will be reduced in order to satisfy their debt in part or in whole. To receive the balance of their payment, Petitioners must provide GCG with the information required to complete a Unified Financial Management System Vendor Request Form. Instructions on how to provide this information will be included in the email notice.
The GCG says that this upcoming round of payments will cover about 4,600 former Absolute Poker players and total approximately $3.7 million. Compare that to the first wave of payments, which totaled almost $33.5 million to 7,400 former customers of Absolute.
It came as a surprise to the poker community when it was announced in April that Absolute Poker and UltimateBet customers would be getting their money back. The two sister sites were already infamous because of ownership-led “super user” cheating scandals and when the sites just dropped off the face of the Earth after Black Friday in April 2011, people just kind of thought, “Figures.”
After the Black Friday indictments, PokerStars settled with the U.S. Department of Justice, paying hundreds of millions of dollars, an amount which included the purchase of rival Full Tilt Poker. PokerStars easily refunded U.S. players whose accounts were closed when PokerStars had to leave the U.S. market. Full Tilt, though, couldn’t pay people back because some of its owners intentionally used player funds to pay themselves (and Full Tilt had money moving through payment processors frozen). Part of PokerStars’ deal involved repaying Full Tilt customers, which took years, but eventually got done.
After the payments were made, there was enough money left over from the Full Tilt process to refund Absolute Poker and UltimateBet players. This process has been much faster, taking just months to get the first payments sent to bank accounts.