By Dylan Howard - Senior Executive Editor, Star magazine
Members of the notoriously brutal Russian mafia participated in the multi-million dollar underground Hollywood poker games involving A-List actors, Star magazine is reporting exclusively.
In a terrifying twist, Star magazine has also learned Molly Bloom, the 33-year-old ringleader behind the illegal gambling ring, was roughed up after fleeing Los Angeles to New York.
Insiders connected to the game speculate that the mob may be responsible for her beating.
Star magazine broke the story that Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck and other top celebrities have been participating in secret, high stakes, allegedly illegal poker games.
Now Star is reporting in its new issue that the feds are also probing illegal card games and their links to organized crime.
"It an active investigation for sure," said one law enforcement source inside the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Spider-Man star Maguire, 35, won hundreds of thousands of dollars from a convicted fraudster at the twice weekly games held in suites at the luxury Beverly Hills hotel, Four Seasons and the Viper Room on Sunset Boulevard.
Brad Ruderman, former CEO of Ruderman Capital Partners, settled his debts with stolen money, lawsuits filed against Maguire and others alleged.
DiCaprio, Affleck and Damon have not been sued.
Local Russian mobsters are said to have eventually joined in, sources told Star.
That’s where things turned violent.
“Molly admitted to friends that she was assaulted while in New York and even had photographs of herself bloody and bruised to prove it,” one of her pals told Star.
“Molly told one friend that she believes the bashing has something to do with mobsters.” (Her lawyer denies that the incident was connected to the mob.)
Another theory, according to a knowledgeable source, is that Molly had agreed to give the feds evidence about those who participated in her exclusive events — and the mob wanted to teach her a lesson for being a ‘snitch’ and breaking their “omerta” -- the notorious code of silence.
She told a number of poker player that it was not in his best interest to play in New York games in March, sources told Star.
“The insinuation being that something could ‘go wrong’ if they were to sit at a poker table,” the insider said, adding. “It was clear what Molly was saying.”
Molly’s attorney, Ronald Richards, had “no comment” on the claim that she had turned into an informant.
He did confirm that his client had been attacked, however.
“Molly was roughed up approximately nine months ago by two thugs in New York,” Richards said, but he insisted that the nasty incident was not related to the poker games or to the Russian mob.
“The matter was dealt with by the proper people who deal with those kinds of things.”
“If you are going to get into present day poker games in New York,” said Richards, adding: “I’m going to have her assert the Fifth on every single question.”
But Bloom, the sister of a U.S. Olympian and former pro footballer, did confess — despite her lawyer’s protests — that she owned a poker table in New York to conduct games.
Read more of Star's world exclusive investigation into the intriguing poker ring, including more stars linked to the scandal.