November 28, 2011 8:41am PT by Eriq Gardner
Tobey Maguire Pays $80,000 to Settle Lawsuit Over High-Stakes Poker
Tobey Maguire knows when to throw down his cards and settle up. Earlier this year, the actor was one of 22 people sued for winning money in allegedly illegal poker games from a Beverly Hills hedge fund manager who was convicted of running a Ponzi Scheme. On Wednesday, the parties filed court papers in bankruptcy court revealing that Maguire has agreed to fork over $80,000 to be dropped from ongoing litigation meant to recoup money for those who got duped by the fraud.
Maguire was one of many Hollywood insiders who participated in high-stakes poker games at luxurious Beverly Hills hotels with Brad Ruderman, the CEO of Ruderman Capital Partners.
Ruderman was later convicted of wire fraud and investment fraud and now sits in a Texas prison as the trustee of Ruderman Capital attempts to hunt down some $25 million allegedly lost in these poker games. Among the other celebrities targeted in a lawsuit launched last June were The Notebook director Nick Cassavetes, Welcome Back, Kotter star Gabe Kaplan, and record label owner Cody Leibel. Other A-list stars including Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck were also reportedly tied to the poker games, with $50,000 buy-ins (but they were not sued).
Maguire allegedly won more than $300,000 in poker, but in the lawsuit, the bankruptcy judge alleged the poker was unlicensed and that the winnings were ill-gotten gains from Ruderman's clients.
On Wednesday, in court filings, the trustee revealed a settlement with Maguire. Per the agreement, the actor paid $80,000 and represented to the best of his knowledge that he has not received any more money than those poker winnings from Ruderman. Maguire also disavows any knowledge of the Ponzi scheme and agrees not to make any claim on the bankrupt estate.
The settlement will need to be approved by a judge, who has set a hearing date of Dec. 21 to consider the motion for settlement.
According to the court papers, the parties entered into a settlement agreement to avoid the expense and risk of further litigation. In making the case that the settlement represents the best interests of the estate, Howard Ehrenberg, the Chapter 7 trustee for Ruderman Capital points out that the lawsuit raised "several complex issues of law and fact," including "whether Maguire provided value to the Debtor in relation to the poker games and whether certain of the transfers from Ruderman to Maguire constitute funds of the Debtor."
Maguire signed the settlement agreement himself on Nov. 18, and if approved by the judge, he will be released from ongoing case. Maguire was represented by Robert Barta at Rosoff Schiffres & Barta.