Tobey Maguire is looking to extract himself from a rather tangled web.
The former Spider-Man star has denied accusations that he knowingly participated in—and won serious dough from—an illegal poker ring allegedly perpetrated by a Beverly Hills hedge fund manager.
Well, he's not exactly denying the dough part...
Maguire admits that he won and duly received $187,000 (not $1 million, like one tabloid reported) from businessman Bradley Ruderman, who's currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for running a Ponzi scheme to pay off debts he rang up playing invitation-only Texas Hold 'Em with A-list enthusiasts like Maguire, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio.
But, the actor's attorney states in documents filed last week in L.A. Superior Court, Maguire "unconditionally denies having engaged in any conduct whatsoever in violation of law and further categorically denies having knowingly or intentionally participated in any fraudulent scheme."
A trustee representing the investors who got scammed sued Ruderman in March. The plaintiffs don't accuse Maguire of a role in masterminding the scheme; rather, they just want their money back.
Maguire's camp, meanwhile, states that the $168,500 he lost to Ruderman should offset any liability in this case.
The lawsuit alleges that Maguire and his buddies played in "controlled games" at five-star locales like the Four Seasons hotel and luxurious private homes in Beverly Hills, and that one woman in particular—identified as Molly Bloom—arranged for the food, booze and other amenities offered to the players, as well as kept track of everyone's winnings and losses.
Maguire's response also states that he did not know whether or not the games were so-called controlled games, or whether the venues he played at were licensed to host games (per California gambling law, it's illegal to operate any controlled game without the appropriate license).
As far as he knew, the Brothers star was just accepting invitations to play poker, his lawyer says.
—Reporting by Claudia Rosenbaum