First Wave of Absolute Poker and UB.com Refunds Announced

Updated: August 18th, 2017 by Haley Hintze

Garden City Group (GCG), the Ohio-based claims administrator charged by the US’s Department of Justice with overseeing refunds of lost balances to former players of sister sites Absolute Poker and UB.com, has announced the first wave of refunds in the ongoing remission process regarding those sites.

In a recent update at the online site through which remission applications continue to be filed, GCG offered the following:

GCG has been informed that the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section of the Department of Justice (MLARS) has approved a first round of payments to Petitioners who confirmed their Absolute Poker / Ultimate Bet account balances prior to the initial June 9, 2017 filing deadline. The distribution will include payments to approximately 7,400 Petitioners with awards totaling almost $33.5 million.

Payments will be made via electronic ACH to Petitioners residing in the United States and via foreign currency check to Petitioners residing outside of the United States. In cases where a foreign currency check cannot be issued, the payment will be made via USD check or foreign currency wire depending on the Petitioners country of residence.

Within the next few weeks, GCG will be sending an email notice to all approved Petitioners that contains the amount and method of their payment. For Petitioners scheduled to receive their payment via electronic ACH or foreign currency wire, the email notice will also include instructions for submitting the required banking information needed for payment.

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.

Specific questions regarding outstanding debts and offset amounts cannot be addressed by the Department of Justice or GCG. To obtain information on your individual debt, you must contact the Treasury Offset Program at (800) 304-3107 or visit https://fiscal.treasury.gov/fsservices/gov/debtColl/dms/top/debt_top.htm for additional information.

Petitioners should continue to check this website for updates regarding the payment process and this administration.

That “initial June 9 filing deadline” has since been extended 90 days into early September, giving former player on the two sites who may have only recently learned of the remission process a short bit of extra time to file for a refund of online balances presumed lost in 2011. The owners of Absolute Poker shuttered the sites without paying the tens of millions of dollars owed to its players. Two former executives of Absolute Poker, stepbrothers Scott Tom and Brent Beckley, pled guilty to gambling violations connected to their operation of the two sites. Most of the funds for this remission process came from an entirely separate source: leftover funds from the massive settlement in 2012 between the DOJ and rival site PokerStars.

Today, many players located both in the US and in several foreign countries — the US’s Department of Justice has allowed for anyone, regardless of nationality, to apply for a refund through this process — have reported receiving confirmation of their remission application. Payments are likely to be sent out in four to six weeks, according to excerpts from these e-mails posted online.

It’s unknown how large a percentage of the whole the 7,400 approved applications and nearly $33.5 million to be paid out will represent of the larger total ultimately returned to players. A direct comparison to the earlier Full Tilt Poker refund process is inapplicable for several reasons; that FT refund process is technical still ongoing more than three years after it was initiated, also through GCG.

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