• Spiderman Sued by Bankruptcy Trustee for Poker Winnings

    Bankruptcy trustee Howard Ehrenberg is suing Tobey Maguire, star of “Spiderman,” in a claw back effort to reclaim more than $300,000.

    Ehrenberg is the trustee in the bankruptcy case of Bradley Ruderman. Ruderman is currently in prison for stealing $25 million from investors in his Ponzi scheme, fronted by a hedge fund that he managed.

    Ruderman played high stakes games of Texas Hold ‘Em poker with Maguire and lost big. The games were played in Southern California hotels between 2006 and 2009.

    Checks written to Maguire for covering poker losses total $311,200.

    Funds invested in Ruderman’s Capital were transferred to Maguire for payment. Maguire was unaware that investors victimized by Ruderman funded his winnings. The trustee said that the money still needs to be repaid.

    “It is a technical legal argument – if you are involved in an illegal activity, you don’t get that defense of ignorance,” Ehrenberg said. “The game he played in itself was illegal. That’s the linkage, the money was paid directly from Ruderman Capital.”

    Games played in private homes for stakes are not illegal in California. However, the suit alleges that the games that Ruderman and Maguire played were against the law because a paid event planner organized everything.

    If you are looking into the possibility of filing in bankruptcy court , contact a Chicago bankruptcy attorney for more information about the process.


  • Bankruptcy Judge Declares Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional

    A bankruptcy judge for the Central District of California declared DOMA unconstitutional in a ruling on June 13, 2011. 19 other bankruptcy judges in the district signed the ruling in consensus.

    The case began when a gay couple in California filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy protection as a married couple. The U.S. Trustee’s Office asked Judge Donovan to dismiss the case on the grounds that DOMA barred the court from recognizing the couple’s marriage.

    Judge Donovan declined to dismiss the case, stating in his judgment that “no legally married couple should be entitled to fewer bankruptcy rights than any other legally married couple.” He also wrote that the couple “demonstrated that there is no valid governmental basis for DOMA. In the end, the court finds that DOMA violates the equal protection rights of the debtors as recognized under the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.”

    Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said the government would have no comment on the ruling or potential next steps by the department.

    Robert Pfister, the attorney who represented the gay couple in bankruptcy court, expects an appeal of the ruling to be filed by the trustee on behalf of members of Congress who want the law to remain in force.

    If you are interested in filing for bankruptcy and would like to learn more about the process works, contact a Chicago bankruptcy attorney for more information.

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