This funding is to complete production. We have spent just under $30,000 on gear, software and principle photography. Your pledge will help us cross the finish line.
UltimateBeat - Too much to lose is the culmination of nearly five years of investigation into insider fraud at UltimateBet, an online poker site built at the start of the poker boom. When the company admitted insider cheating in 2008, a shockwave tore through the poker community shredding a paper thin wall of trust. Players believed site operators had far too much to lose to ever engage in shady behavior. But site owners did more than steal from their customers. They engaged in an active cover-up of the amounts stolen and who was involved. They conducted their own private audit/investigation and decided exactly how much they wanted to refund to the cheated players with no verifiable or public report on the process. The likelihood is that they paid out far less than they took.
These same founders continue to profit from shareholdings in the venture even into 2012. Maybe worst of all, technology developed by the founders to detect and prevent the exact kind of fraud committed is now facilitating the growth of an online security company with serious privacy considerations and the probability of a near-future multi-hundred million dollar buyout.
The CEO of Excapsa, James Ryan has since moved on to Party.bwin and is currently undergoing review with the Nevada Gaming Commission to return to the US as a software provider even though he has never answered a single question about rampant illegality that occurred during his entire tenure as company leader with a significant ownership interest.
Russ Hamilton is the only individual named by the gaming license authority as driving the scam and even he was never arrested, charged or prosecuted for stealing millions of dollars in player funds. The case is unique in that it involves a large crowdsourcing effort bringing much of the information to light and forcing the company to pay back more than it intended. At the same time, it shows how traditional media outlets are conflicted and even played a slightly adversarial role to solving the crime.
At least four individuals appear to have used inside knowledge of the crimes to enrich themselves after the cheating was discovered. In each case, these individuals possess knowledge, documents and data which likely could have forced the company to come clean about the amounts stolen and the players affected. It is a particularly nasty aspect to the story because they appear to have chosen to enrich themselves versus helping the victims recover fairly.
The film reveals the true story of what happened and diagrams how almost none of the official explanation is correct. Though there are conflicting opinions on whether statutes of limitation have run on the crimes involved, it is likely none of the criminals will ever face justice and most of them live in comfort with little daily impediment. If the film does nothing other than to force them to live with the public knowledge of their involvement, it will be a success.
We made it over the initial funding hurdles for gear/software and have shot a significant amount of footage. Still needed for the film are two location shoots, one in Las Vegas and one on the East Coast. We also need to buttress our legal assistance/E&O insurance category to ensure we stay within the boundaries of Fair Use and avoid any Defamation issues. Finally, our edit suite needs color grading software to give our project that Grover-approved look. Ten dollars or ten thousand, it will all help (though our Kickstarter page is set up for $6500.00, you are allowed to go over). In the case we go over our target, another location shoot in Las Vegas would be very helpful and depending on the cost, trips to Canada and Costa Rica would also greatly enhance the story. Thank you in advance for your support.
- (30 days)