Tobey Maguire is being sued for over $300,000 in poker winnings he acquired in what the lawsuit alleges was an illegal gambling ring.
The Spider-Man star is one of over a dozen high-profile entertainment industry people who together allegedly made off with millions in stolen money played by a Beverly Hills hedgefund manager convicted of running a Ponzi scheme.
Bradley L. Ruderman pleaded guilty in 2009 to charges that he defrauded investors of $44 million dollars by falsifying financial statements, which erroneously valued his hedgefund at hundreds of millions of dollars when in fact it was nearly worthless. An FBI investigation revealed that Ruderman spent $8.7 million in investor money on personal expenses.
Ruderman confessed to losing $5.2 million in high-stakes poker games played in Beverly Hills hotel rooms. Of that amount, $311,300 was lost to Macguire specifically - on a single day - including $110,000 on one hand.
The lawsuit, brought by Howard Ehrenberg - trustee in Ruderman's bankruptcy case- claims that Maguire is not entitled to the winnings and that the money should be returned to Ruderman's victims, arguing that even though Maguire did not know the gambling money was not legitimate, the poker games themselves were illegal.
It is a technical legal argument -- if you are involved in an illegal activity, you don't get that defense [of ignorance], Ehrenberg told the New York Post. The game he played in itself was illegal. That's the linkage, the money was paid directly [to Maguire] from Ruderman Capital.
The Post article added that while private home games are legal in California, the high-stakes Texas Hold 'em games mentioned in the suit could be considered illegal because they were organized by a paid event planner.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon also reportedly played in the same games - which had a $100,000 buy-in - but are not named in the suit.
Nick Cassavetes is facing a smaller claim of $73,000, while Alec Gores, a prominent Hollywood financier, is being sued for $445,000.
[Sources: RadarOnline, The Daily, The NY Post]