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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A group of investors has sued "Spider-Man" star Tobey Maguire to recoup more than $300,000 they say a hedge fund manager embezzled from them and lost to the actor in high-stakes poker games.
The lawsuit stems from the criminal case against Bradley Ruderman, the chief executive of Beverly Hills-based Ruderman Capital Partners, who was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison in January for an investor Ponzi scheme he ran from 2003 to 2009.
Ruderman pleaded guilty last August to wire fraud and investment adviser fraud, admitting that he embezzled millions of dollars of his clients' money to spend on lavish personal expenses, including $5.2 million he lost in clandestine poker.
According to the lawsuit, Ruderman was a regular player in a series of exclusive, and illegal, "Texas Hold'em" games held for celebrities and wealthy Hollywood business figures at various luxury hotels and private homes in L.A. and Beverly Hills.
Another participant in those games, the lawsuit says, was Maguire, who is alleged to have won more than $311,000 from Ruderman that the hedge fund manager siphoned from the investments of his clients.
The court-appointed trustee for former investors in Ruderman's fund claims in his suit that Maguire is not entitled to keep the winnings because the payments to him constituted "fraudulent transfers" of their money.
The suit, filed in federal bankruptcy court in Los Angeles in March, came to light on Wednesday after it was posted by celebrity news website Radaronline.com.
According to Radaronline, the invitation-only, no-limit clandestine poker games were held twice a week with a buy-in of $100,000, and Ruderman's gambling debts to Maguire included a single losing poker hand of $110,000 in July 2007.
Representatives for Maguire, who has starred in such films as "Seabiscuit" and "Cider House Rules," in addition to his title role in three "Spider-Man" movies, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The trustee and lawsuit's plaintiff, Howard Ehrenberg, told Reuters he has filed 15 such court actions in all in connection with Ruderman's gambling debts, seeking to recover a total of $5.2 million for investors.
Others being sued by Ehrenberg include film director Nick Cassavetes, "Welcome Back Kotter" TV star Gabe Kaplan and Paris Hilton's onetime sex video partner, Rick Salomon.
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte