Tobey Maguire and the 'illicit' Hollywood poker game scandal

The feds charge the Spider-Man star for his alleged involvement in the tangled web of an imprisoned Ponzi schemer

Tobey Maguire
(Image credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Spider-Man's Tobey Maguire is among a group of Hollywood high-rollers being sued in connection with an "illicit" gaming ring that allegedly ran illegal high-stakes poker games, according to Radar. Though Maguire is currently one of the few actors being sued, Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Matt Damon are also reported to have participated in the games. So how much trouble are they in? Here, a brief guide:

Why is Maguire being sued?

The actor was a regular player in an "invitation-only" poker game held at posh L.A. hotels like the Four Seasons and the Peninsula. In 2007 and 2008, Maguire won more than $300,000 from a hedge fund investor who is now in prison for operating a Ponzi scheme. Because those hotel poker games were essentially illegal — the hotels were not licensed for gambling — Maguire's winnings are considered "ill-gotten," according to TMZ. That may give trustees managing the fallout from the Ponzi scheme grounds to seize Maguire's winning in order to pay off creditors.

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Who's the mini-Madoff who lost the $300,000 to Maguire?

Bradley Ruderman, a hedge fund manager, now serving a 10-year federal prison sentence for embezzling investor funds and operating a wire fraud scheme that lost investors $25 million. Ruderman actually lost most of that money playing poker. Ruderman was "essentially stealing from Peter to pay Paul," says TMZ. The site says Maguire received money from Ruderman, pointing to a 2007 check for $69,200 that he gave the actor after a 2007 poker game.

What about the other stars?

Director Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook) and actor Gabe Kaplan (Welcome Back Kotter) are among the other Hollywood players being sued. According to one "whistle-blowing card shark" who was involved in the poker ring, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon were also regular players, though apparently the actors hadn't won enough money to warrant a law suit.

What's next?

According to Radar, Maguire won as much $30 million to $40 million from the poker games over the course of three years. Luckily for him, however, California "rarely prosecutes" those caught at underground poker clubs, even though they are illegal. Maguire is not under criminal investigation, but to keep the money he won from Ruderman, Maguire will have to make his case in court.

Sources: Radar, TMZ (2), Huffington Post, TIME

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