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Maguire: No wrongdoing in poker matches

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Tobey Maguire didn't just win more than $300,000 during poker matches against a man convicted of running a Ponzi scheme, the actor's attorney notes in court filings that he also lost $168,500 to the convicted con man.

Maguire's attorney denied the actor did anything wrong by playing in the Texas Hold 'Em matches held at upscale Beverly Hills hotels and private residences and shouldn't be required to turn over any of his winnings to Ponzi investors, court filings released Thursday state. But attorney Robert Barta argues that if a bankruptcy court rules that the ``Spider-Man'' star has to turn over any of his winnings, he should be credited for the nearly $170,000 he lost to Bradley Ruderman.

The actor and 21 others, including several celebrities, were sued in March by a bankruptcy trustee hoping to recoup more than $4 million in Ruderman's gambling losses during the poker games, which the lawsuits claim were unlicensed. The winners, including Maguire and actor-director Nick Cassavetes, have no right to keep their winnings, the trustee's lawsuits claim.

``It's my belief that the games under California law were illegal because they were being hosted for money,'' trustee Howard Ehrenberg said in an interview last week.

Maguire's response denies that they were ``controlled games'' or that a woman accused of coordinating the tournaments was also responsible for making sure winners were paid.

Cassavetes' attorney has also denied wrongdoing. Attorney Ronald Richards said last week he is hoping to either resolve the case for a lesser amount than the $73,000 that ``The Notebook'' director won at a 2007 game, or he will fight the case.

Ruderman paid many of his losses during the games with checks, which allowed Ehrenberg to trace the payments and attempt to seize them to repay the Ponzi investors.

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.

Maguire acknowledges he received the payments from Ruderman, but denied there was a regular roster of poker players including ``wealthy celebrities, entrepreneurs, attorneys and businessmen.''

Ehrenberg said he thought he hoped to resolve several of the cases without them going to trial.

The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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