Tobey Maguire sued over winnings at high-stakes poker matches

One of the actor’s regular opponents was convicted fraudster Bradley Ruderman, who is said to have settled his debts with stolen money

Los Angeles

Tobey Maguire, the actor whose turn as Spiderman generated a reputed income of $25 million per film, supplemented his professional earnings at the card table, where his well-practiced ability to deadpan helped win hundreds of thousands of dollars at illegal games of high-stakes poker, a lawsuit alleges.

It is said that one of his regular opponents at the late-night events, which were attended by a slew of film stars, Hollywood executives, and local billionaires, was a convicted fraudster called Bradley Ruderman, who is said to settled his debts to Maguire using $311,000 [£191,000] that had been stolen from his victims.

Lawyers representing investors in a Ponzi scheme which has earned Ruderman a ten year prison sentence are now pursuing Maguire and several other prominent poker aficionados for the return of a sum totaling more than $4 million [£2.47m], which they are believed to have won from the conman between 2006 and 2009.

Their lawsuit was filed in March, but became public this week when it was stumbled-upon by a reporter for the US supermarket tabloid Star. It lifts the lid on an extravagant world of high-stakes Texas Hold'em events staged in private suites at a selection of large five-star hotels in Beverly Hills.

Regular players are said to have included Leonardo Dicaprio, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon, along with Nick Cassavetes, the director of The Notebook, who is being sued for the return of $73,000. Alec Gores, a prominent Hollywood financier who last year attempted to buy the film studio Miramax is facing a claim of $445,000.

The games were "exclusive events, by invitation only, and that there was a regular roster of players consisting of wealthy celebrities, entrepreneurs, attorneys and businessmen," reads the 18 page lawsuit. It describes Maguire as a "very, very frequent" atendee.

Players were expected to turn up with a minimum of $100,000 at the twice-weekly events. The organiser, a socialite called Molly Bloom, told investigators that she earned a cut of their bankroll for providing card-tables, professional dealers, food, drink, and back masseurs to calm the nerves of invited guests.

Mr Ruderman, who ran a Beverly Hills investment firm called Ruderman Capital Partners, was a regular guest but incompetent poker player. The prosecution at his trial earlier this year told how he began using funds belonging to his clients to cover spiraling gambling debts.

When his investment fund collapsed, Ruderman was the subject of an FBI investigation. It concluded that he had been running a Ponzi scheme. After pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud, two counts of investment adviser fraud and willful failure to file taxes, he received a ten year sentence in federal prison.

The lawsuits against his former poker opponents are now being filed by Howard Ehrenberg, a bankruptcy trustee representing defrauded investors. They claim that Maguire and others have no right to keep money won from Ruderman, since the payments constitute "fraudulent transfers" of stolen funds.

Legal analysts describe that argument as ambitious. Maguire's representatives have yet to comment on the case, but several of those being sued by Ehrenberg say they will mount a vigorously defence against the charges.

Unlicensed gambling is illegal in California, and if the allegations are proven questions will be asked as to why the management of hotels allowed the events to take place on their property. The US taxman may also wish to check that players named in the lawsuits declared poker winnings on their tax returns.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones