LOS ANGELES (AP) - "Spider-Man" star Tobey Maguire and other celebrities have been caught in a web of lawsuits seeking to reclaim more than $4 million won during unlicensed poker matches at upscale Beverly Hills hotels, court records show.
The lawsuits were filed by a bankruptcy trustee attempting to recoup money for investors who were duped in a Ponzi scheme.
The legal actions claim the clandestine Texas Hold `em matches were played between 2006 and 2009, with some of the money taken in the Ponzi scheme used to pay off debts incurred by its architect, Bradley Ruderman.
Maguire is being sued for $311,000 plus interest that the lawsuit says was won from Ruderman. In all, 22 people have been individually sued to try to recoup money.
Among them was Nick Cassavettes, director of "The Notebook." The trustee is attempting to recover nearly $73,000 plus interest from the actor-director.
Maguire's attorney, Robert Barta, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment but was expected to file a response to the suit later this week. Cassavettes' agent Jeff Berg also did not immediately respond to a phone message.
Also being sued is billionaire businessman Alec Gores, who along with his brother attempted to buy Miramax Films last year.
Gores is being sued for $445,500. A phone message left for Frank Stefanik, a spokesman at The Gores Group, was not immediately returned.
Ruderman was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison earlier this year after pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud, two counts of investment adviser fraud and willful failure to file taxes.
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 said.
The claims were first reported Wednesday by RadarOnline and Star Magazine.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/celebritydocket