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Tobey Maguire and others settle over poker winnings

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FILE - In this Jan. 24

LOS ANGELES » Tobey Maguire has decided to fold ’em and settle a lawsuit over his winnings from a convicted con man during high-stakes Hollywood poker games.

The "Spider-Man" star agreed to pay $80,000 to settle the lawsuit filed over more than $311,000 he was paid by a convicted Ponzi scheme operator in Texas Hold ‘Em matches that included celebrities, businessmen and others, court documents state.

If approved by a judge next month, Maguire will pay the money to a bankruptcy trustee who is trying to recoup money that former hedge fund operator Bradley Ruderman bilked from investors to finance his lavish lifestyle.

The money will be used to repay victims of the scheme, which Maguire and other players were unaware of.

Court records show that 14 of the 22 people sued to recoup poker winnings have settled their cases. Howard Ehrenberg, the bankruptcy trustee who sued the group, said Monday the poker settlements total more than $1.7 million.

Ehrenberg said Maguire’s payout to resolve the case is in the same range as others who agreed to settlements.

"He did not end up with any better settlement than the others," Ehrenberg said.

Maguire’s settlement states he "strongly disputes that he violated any laws, rules or regulations in regard to participating in the poker games" but was agreeing to the payment to avoid fighting the case, which would be costly.

The actor signed the settlement on Nov. 22 and it was filed a day later with a bankruptcy court handling the lawsuits.

The trustee alleged Maguire and others had no right to keep their winnings from the unlicensed poker games held at upscale hotels and private residences. Maguire and others have denied there was anything improper about the matches.

In court filings, Maguire noted that he lost $168,500 to Ruderman, who is currently serving a 10 year federal prison sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud, two counts of investment adviser fraud and willful failure to file taxes.

Several of those sued are fighting the cases, most notably actor-director Nick Cassavetes. His attorney has said the games were not illegal and the statute of limitations has long passed for pursuing any criminal charges for the games held between 2006 and 2009.

Ehrenberg said he expects the remaining cases will be resolved before trial.

Filings show that billionaire Alec Gores and "Welcome Back, Kotter" star and poker aficionado Gabe Kaplan have also settled cases filed against them.

Gores, who along with his brother attempted to buy Miramax films last year, has agreed to pay $49,908 to settle a $445,500 lawsuit over Ruderman’s poker payments.

Kaplan has agreed to pay $26,900 after he was sued to try to recoup nearly $63,000 in winnings.

Ehrenberg filed the lawsuits in late March, attempting to recoup money on behalf of people who invested in the scheme by Ruderman.

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