PPC Ponzi Scheme from 2016 finally comes to an end

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Posted on: April 20, 2020 8:21 pm EDT

Poker players have waited four years to receive their five-figure payouts

The last time a Players Poker Championship (PPC) Poker Tour took place was in November 2016, in Aruba. The main event finished with combined prize money of almost $300,000 for the first five positions, but it was not paid after the event finished. The winners went home with $10,000 they got from the organizers, along with a promise to be sent the remaining cash just a few days later. That never happened, so the scammed players decided to file a lawsuit against the tournament owners, Sandy Swartzbaugh and Bryan Oulton, who, according to accusations, used the tournament funds to pay for other external expenses and enrich themselves. All defendants ended up settling payments to players in court.

Stephen Deutsch came on top in the PPC Main Event for $128,987, the second place was for James Beadnell, who won $85,906 and Michael Lerner conquered the third place for a $43,426 prize. Lastly, John Ott finished in fourth place for $22,085 and Joan Sandoval finished in fifth place for $11,390.

Back in 2016, a month after the event, players kept getting runarounds and a sea of excuses from the owners, who were allegedly removing substantive content from the PPC website. This situation pushed the plaintiffs to take the matter to court. The charges included corruption, fraud, racketeering and running a Ponzi scheme. Apparently, they were deviating funds from PPC to intentionally be used to pay other creditors and for personal expenses, which is what describes a Ponzi scheme. Included in the lawsuit was Maryland Live! Casino, which ran satellites to PPC events. Also, Tampa Bay Downs, one of the tour’s official host venues.

The debt has now finally been settled. Both Swartzbaugh and Oulton agreed on a $120,000 combined settlement, which will be paid in $400 increments for a 50-month period. On the other hand, Tampa Bay Downs also settled with players, even though it claims not to have had any involvement with this scheme, nor does it believe it did anything wrong. The total payment was for $80,000, going to both the plaintiffs and the attorneys.