Continued from page 1

Richards, who also represents others who were sued over their poker winnings, said none of the players faced any criminal penalties.

“The statutes in California aren’t designed to prosecute players for playing poker,” he said, adding that the statute of limitations on any gambling charges would have expired or would soon expire.

Bankruptcy trustee Howard Ehrenberg filed the lawsuits in late March, attempting to recoup money on behalf of people who invested in what the legal action called a Ponzi scheme organized by Ruderman.

The suits contend the defendants have no right to keep money won from Ruderman, since the games did not have the appropriate government licenses.

Tournaments were held in luxury hotels in Beverly Hills and organized by a woman identified as Molly Bloom, who is being sued for nearly $475,000 paid to her by Ruderman, the lawsuits say.

Richards, who said he represented Bloom in the past, said she ran a catering and events business and simply received payments from Ruderman for her services.

In addition to trying to recoup money related to the poker games, Ehrenberg has also sued four of Ruderman’s associates and relatives to try to reclaim more than $280,000 in gifts and loans.

___

Associated Press Writers Thomas Watkins and Greg Risling in Los Angeles, and Oskar Garcia in Las Vegas contributed to this report.

Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/celebritydocket