Aussie poker identity Marley Wynter ordered to pay $4.8 million to victims of alleged Ponzi scheme

The founder of an alleged Ponzi scheme that targeted Australian poker players has been ordered by the Supreme Court of Queensland to pay 11 plaintiffs a combined $4.8 million.

The default judgement against Marley Wynter, whose sports betting syndicate Marley’s House of Sport (MHS) claimed to have made almost $30 million in profits in the space of a year, includes reparations for amounts invested, promised profits and interest. PokerMedia Australia understands Wynter did not contest the claim.

As previously reported by PMA, allegations that MHS and an affiliated company called Marley’s House of Investment (MHI) may be a Ponzi scheme were first aired by Queensland-based poker player and industry advocate Craig Abernethy in early 2022 and led to the creation of a facebook page that garnered more than 350 members.

MHS marketed itself as a financial investment service specializing in sports betting, horse racing and “strategic” bankroll management, claiming to have had more than 12,000 investors at its peak and to have multiplied investor money by up to nine times.

It is alleged that Wynter, himself a known poker identity who won $430,919 in the $20K Super High Roller at the inaugural WPT Australia series in September 2022, primarily targeted investors from within the poker community by sponsoring local poker organizations such as the Australian Poker Tour (APT), where it ran a fantasy sports competition, and holding seminars during major events in which he would sell MHS and its returns to potential clients.

At least $3 million was believed to have been invested with MHS since early 2022 before MHS was shut down on 26 January 2023, although PMA previously reported that Wynter had continued trying to recruit investors after that date.

Marley Wynter

Victims of the scheme alleged that requests to withdraw funds were met with resistance, that they received images of bank statements claiming payment had been made only for those funds to never materialize, or in some cases that they were paid out only after threatening to go to authorities. It was also claimed that Wynter actively discouraged withdrawals by regularly altering the company’s Terms and Conditions.

Abernethy said he is not confident that any money can be recovered but hopes this week’s judgement can at least prevent Wynter from operating such scams again in future.

“My main goal with all of this initially was to expose a scammer so that he couldn’t take advantage of any more victims,” he told PMA.

“The fact that this has gone to court and a ruling has been made, I’m pretty happy with that result.

“What Marley did was a disgrace and he’s ruined a lot of peoples’ lives. I’ve had a lot of people contact me even today because this money is significant to them. Although I don’t think there is any chance of getting it back, I hope there is at least some closure for the victims so they can move on with their lives knowing this guy won’t scam anyone else ever again.”

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