Holiday Refund Checks Await Second Payment Wave of Cereus Network Victims

Updated: November 5th, 2017 by Dev Ops

Just a few months after sending out a first wave of remission payments to former players on the failed Cereus Network sites Absolute Poker and (earlier known as UltimateBet), Ohio-based claims administrator Garden City Group (GCG) has announced that a second wave of refunds will soon be sent out to Cereus victims, likely in time for use during the holiday season.

GCG, which is the private company hired by the US’s Department of Justice to administer the “Absolute Poker” refund process, has moved along on an accelerated pace compared to that of the earlier Full Tilt Poker remission process. GCG is still handling the last several hudred disputed Full Tilt claims in a process which has now stretched for a full five years. In comparison, the first wave of Absolute Poker / rfunds were sent out this summer and early fall after the process was announced this past spring.

That accelerated pace of processing by GCG has created a few side issues, even though it’s still better than a no-refund alternative. GCG failed to properly notify all former AP/UB players, and ended up adding a 90-day extension, until Sept. 7, 2017, for former Cereus Network players to file. Several thousand additional victims filed claims during this 90-day extension, though anecdotal reports indicate that still other victims of the fraud-ridden, failed sites are still finding out that refunds have been made possible.

Of course, that money didn’t come from the thieves who ran Absolute Poker, headed by Scott Tom, who recently returned to the US and pled guilty to a single misdemeanor charge from the “Black Friday” crackdown. Instead, the money was moved over from extra funds remaining from the large 2012 PokerStars settlement with the DOJ. It was a bit of legal gerrymandering — though again, most players are complaining — and it’s really PokerStars money that’s been paying for these AP/UB refunds.

No specific date has been set for this second round of payments to begin, but here’s the most recent update from GCG, as published over at

GCG has been informed that the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section of the Department of Justice (MLARS) has approved a second round of payments to Petitioners who confirmed their Absolute Poker / Ultimate Bet account balances prior to the September 7, 2017 filing deadline. The distribution will include payments to approximately 4,600 Petitioners with awards totaling approximately $3.7 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 for additional information.

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

This wave will mean that more than $37 million will have been refunded to roughly 12,000 former players of the two sites who were left hanging when Absolute Poker and turned off the lights in late April of 2011. Several smaller waves, decreasing in number of players included, could stretch over the next year or two. All told, the amount refunded to victims of the two US sites should total to roughly $45 million. That total will include all global players on the Cereus Network who successfully filed a claim for a refund.

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