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The world of poker never sleeps! There’s action everywhere, whether on or off the felts. In this edition of our PokerGuru Gossip Column, we take a step away from the thrilling action at the 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP) and step into the world of fraud and court cases in the poker world. First off, we take a look at the Ponzi scam that Australian poker player Bill Jordanou masterminded along with the ex-Scores by accountant Robert Zaia. We conclude with the charges of fund misappropriation filed against World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) gold ring winner Maurice Hawkins by attorney Halley B. Lewis.
Yes, strange things happen when it gets very hot so get a cool minty drink handy and sit back in a cozy corner to get all the latest schmooze from poker-world.
Australian poker player Bill Jordanou has landed himself in quite the soup. He had to appear in front of the High Court of Melbourne on charges of involvement in a Ponzi scheme. Jordanou and his partner in crime former Scoresby accountant Robert Zaia were accused of draining out approximately AU$72 million (US$53 million) in Zaia’s family trust via the fraudulent investment arrangement.
Jordanou, who had made a name for himself as an aggressive poker player, had collected $592,671 in tournament cashes between 2008 to 2013, which includes placing 3rd in A$100,000 + 500 $100,000 Challenge where he banked $276,888. But his credentials now also include being the architect behind the Ponzi scheme that robbed clients of their money by using falsified documents to acquire loans. Then money was then taken from the client’s bank accounts without their consent or knowledge.
Allegations have also been made against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA). CBA’s failure to inform the authorities about Zaia’s suspicious activities back in 2007 has not been viewed favourably. The banking corporation did notify the police in 2011, meanwhile Jordanou and Zaia had been living the high life.
On June 25, both culprits were made to appear before the Melbourne High Court, where they pleaded guilty. Due to this a trial will not be held and the victims of this financial scam will never find out whether the CBA was involved in the Ponzi scheme.
The CEO and Founder of Eazybillpay Global Payments Systems Shrikant G. Shetey expressed his concern regarding the incident on Twitter.
Bill Jordanou was renowned for his aggressive style at casinos around the globe but the former professional poker player finally folded in Melbourne’s County Court on Monday and admitted to his hand in a $72 million Ponzi scheme.…https://t.co/dRQpSdh5KE https://t.co/JBukzJEW7e
— Shrikant G. Shetey (@training8m) June 26, 2018
11-time WSOPC gold ring winner Maurice Hawkins can finally breathe freely after the allegations brought against him by Tallahassee attorney Halley B. Lewis were resolved.
Lewis had alleged that Hawkins had cheated him out a sum of $22,788. He sued the poker player for misappropriation of funds stating that a bunch of text messages that Lewis received from Hawkins verified that he had lost the money while gambling to cope with the ‘feeling of despair’ after busting from a tournament.
However, following the court date, documents containing statement made by Lewis under oath absolved Hawkins of any deceitful activity.
“Maurice Hawkins and I had a successful relationship resulting in me receiving significant sums from his winnings that were well in excess of the amount of my total stake expended over the time of the relationship. At no time did I ever feel that Maurice Hawkins ever did anything wrong in terms of his professional play, the various agreements we had between us or anything else.”
After the conclusion of the court proceedings, Hawkins stated, “Our staking deal was in fact handled correctly and was a gross misunderstanding.”
Lewis further elaborated on the miscommunication and explained, “At the end of our [business] relationship, I thought Maurice Hawkins and I were participating in a tournament which he thought I was not staking him. There was a misunderstanding due to a number of miscommunications between us. This resulted in mistakes and errors in the accountings between us where I thought he owed me money and he thought he did not. We have resolved this amicably, and I have nothing but good things to say about him, his having made me a considerable amount of profit from the relationship we had together.”
Phew! That’s about all we can take for now. So we are off for some doozy boozy times, don’t worry though; knowing the craziness of poker players, we will certainly be back with more interesting updates very soon!