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In addition to being a stellar actor, Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire is a pretty great poker player. Maguire is so great, in fact, that he's among the high-profile celebrities being sued in connection with a multimillion-dollar gambling ring that ran high-stakes underground poker games in California, TMZ reports.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have also been named as participants in the games, but they're not being targeted by the lawsuit. So why is Tobey being sued? According to Radar Online, it's because Maguire, 35, won more than $300,000 from Brad Ruderman, a hedge fund manager who embezzled millions from investors to play the games, lost the cash and then orchestrated a Ponzi scheme to try to pay off his debts to Maguire and others. An FBI investigation into Ruderman, the former CEO of Ruderman Capital Enterprises, uncovered that he'd lost as much as $25 million in these clandestine poker tournaments.
Ruderman is currently in prison in Texas until 2018, having been convicted on two counts of wire fraud and two counts of investment adviser fraud. With Ruderman's company now in bankruptcy, his clients are filing civil suits against Maguire and others who won big at the poker games in order to reclaim their money. The suit against Tobey claims that the poker-game winners are "not entitled to receive the transfers from the Debtor, which transfers were compromised of improperly-diverted investor funds."
Also being sued are The Notebook director Nick Cassavetes, Welcome Back, Kotter star Gabe Kaplan, and Paris Hilton's infamous sex tape partner Rick Salomon. DiCaprio, Damon and Affleck aren't yet targets of civil suits. And, as of right now, no criminal charges are being brought against anyone involved.
According to Radar, the poker games were held twice weekly in private suites at swank locations like the Beverly Hills hotel, Four Seasons and the Viper Room. Apparently secret passwords were required to gain entry, and the suits were watched by armed guards wearing bulletproof vests. The games were no-limit Texas Hold-Em, and required a $100,000 buy-in. Ruderman used his investors' money to pay for the giant gambling losses that are par for the course in such high-rolling games, which were operated without licenses or permits. Because such games are illegal in California, Maguire's massive winnings are not considered legally gained.
The lawsuit filed against Maguire in United States Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles claims that these games were "exclusive events, by invitation only, and that there was a regular roster of players consisting of wealthy celebrities, entrepreneurs, attorneys and businessmen." Maguire won as much as $1 million a month over a period of three years, and an insider told Star. "That means he could have made up to $30 to $40 million from these games." Maguire is now being sued to pay that money back.
Maguire has hired an attorney to defend him against the allegations and to argue that his winnings are legitimate.