Tobey Maguire, Other Celebrities Reach Poker Settlement -- Details of Hollywood's Underground Ring Kept Out Of Court (EXCLUSIVE)
Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and a slew of Hollywood identities can rest assured — the secrets of their illegal high-stakes poker games won’t be spilled in a Los Angeles court.
Twenty-two people who sued to recoup poker winnings from a crooked hedge fund manager have all settled their cases for a total of more than $1.75 million, Celebuzz has exclusively learned.
“All of the poker defendant cases are settled,” confirmed Howard Ehrenberg, the bankruptcy trustee who sued Maguire and others in a bid to claw back as much as $5.2 million they won from Ponzi schemer Bradley Ruderman, at underground poker games.
“The settlement of every poker related case without having had to incur the cost of taking any of them to trial means that the fund available for the victims has been maximized.”
Ruderman bilked investors out of $44 million in a wire fraud scheme before he was caught, in 2009.
The con man, who was sentenced to 10 years in jail, in 2010, spent at least $8.7 million of investor money on personal expenses, including a summer rental in Malibu and two Porsches. He lost $5.2 of the fund in Texas Hold 'Em games played on a regular basis at the homes of the Tinsel town card sharks, including Maguire's, or in five-star hotels in Beverly Hills, such as The Four Seasons, between 2006 and 2009.
Ruderman wrote checks and wire transfers to Spiderman star Maguire, totaling $311,200 to cover poker losses, according to one of the lawsuits filed and later settled. Maguire, 36, was one of the first to settle, agreeing to fork over $80,000 to be dropped from the litigation.
In total, Ehrenberg was able to settle the cases for roughly 30 cents on the dollar. The money will be used to repay victims of the scheme, which Maguire and other players were unaware of.
“To be completely clear: Three of the cases were resolved by default or bankruptcy, so the funds recovered are from 19 cases,” said Ehrenberg.
Other celebrities targeted in a lawsuit launched last June were The Notebook director Nick Cassavetes, Welcome Back, Kotter star Gabe Kaplan, Paris Hilton's ex-boyfriend and sex tape partner, Rick Salomon, and record label owner Cody Leibel.
Other A-list stars, including New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, were tied to the poker games, with had a $50,000 buy-in -- but like DicCaprio, Affleck and Damon, he was not sued.
Whilst details of the ring’s inner workings won’t get a public airing, Celebuzz has viewed the FBI’s nearly 1,000-page dossier on the case which identified Maguire as the shadowy club’s “best player.”
The sensational files on the sophisticated and organized illegal poker group were created when Los Angeles-based agents spoke to Ruderman, who became their ultimate snitch.
As part of his confession to the Ponzi scheme, Ruderman ratted out Maguire, declaring: "Tobey Maguire is the best player and a winner.”
Ruderman also turned over to the Feds a trove of evidence, including eight boxes of documents and computer drives, which revealed how he wrote seven checks in total to Maguire during a period of just 10 months, from July, 2007, to May, 2008.
Ruderman also sang like a bird to FBI agents Jeremy Tarwater and Steve Goldman about the poker group's ringleader, Molly Bloom, in the hope that turning informant would deliver him a more lenient sentence for his white-collar crimes.
He said Bloom, the 33-year-old brunette dubbed the 'Princess of Poker', preyed on him because he was ”not a good gambler."
Bloom "was very aggressive to get me to keep playing," Ruderman said in the interview with the Feds, on April 30, 2009.