High Stakes Pro Used $6.2million Ticket Scam to Fund Vegas Gambling3 years ago
Taking on the likes of Joe McKeehen, Erik Seidel and the other high stakes tournament players in Vegas is an expensive business, and this week a federal grand jury indicted Californian pro Seyed Reza Ali Fazeli on wire fraud charges – alleging a $6.2million ticket-flipping scam, a huge chunk of which the poker player spent at the Aria and Bellagio casinos.
According to the FBI, the 49-year old conned investors into paying huge sums upfront for Superbowl and World Cup tickets through his company Summit Entertainment, which also operated under the names Onlinetickets.com and Pacertickets.com, but none of them ever saw a single ticket, Fazeli simply pocketing the money.
“A large portion of investor funds were used for the personal benefit of Fazeli, including millions spent at Las Vegas casinos,” according to FBI Special Agent BC Mason – the highstakes poker pro arrested on February 14th for the year-long scam.
While conducting the fraud between May 2016 until ‘at least May 2017’, Fazeli was playing – and winning – plenty of money in the Aria series of $25,000 high roller events, mixing it with Vegas’ best players and winning over $1.8million in 2016, including a hatrick of 1st places, defeating Joe McKeehen, Bill Klein and Sean Winter heads-up for the three titles.
At the same time, he was promising ‘large profits’ to investors – one family handing over $5million. The $6.2million quoted in the federal indictment may be a conservative estimate of how much Fazeli actually conned, a trust for the Sembler family in St Petersburg, Florida filing a lawsuit detailing $5million of expected tickets, while another firm – Ticket Man – claiming they paid the poker player $2.5million.
In both cases, neither Fazeli nor his company Summit Entertainment responded to repeated requests for the tickets, at one point claiming that the NFL had ‘prohibited their resale’.
Fazeli – not to be confused with the British poker player of the same name - was released on $120,000 bond until his arraignment hearing on March 26th and faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.
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