Poker Hall of Famers Gets Burned in Ponzi Scheme

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Published on:
Apr/17/2018

Two Poker Hall of Famers are suing after they claim to have gotten scammed out of some $800,000.


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John Juanda, Zachary Clark and Erik Seidel, the later of whom ranks among the biggest money earners in the game, claim Seyed Reza Ali Fazeli, 49, swindled them via an 18-month-long sports ticket scheme to fund high roller poker buy-ins at the Aria casino in 2016.  Fazeli was indicted last month for wire fraud.

From CardPlayer.com:

Per the complaint filed in Clark County District Court, Seidel, Juanda and Clark handed over a combined $1.3 million to Fazeli and his company, Summit Entertainment Group, so that Fazeli could purchase tickets to the 2017 NFL Super Bowl and resell them at a substantial profit. The plan was to share the profits 50-50. Fazeli’s alleged ticket scheme utilized the website onlinetickets.com. The lawsuit called his business a Ponzi scheme.

According to the complaint, Fazeli said he was going to use $10 million to purchase about 2,800 tickets to the 2017 Super Bowl. The lawsuit says that Fazeli received payment from the poker pros just weeks prior to the big game, and thereafter he provided them with promissory notes. Seidel and Clark gave Fazeli $500,000 each, while Juanda invested $300,000, according to the lawsuit filed late last year. The world-class poker pros were supposed to receive their investments back plus the profits about a month after Super Bowl LI, but Fazeli never honored the promissory notes, the lawsuit says.

It is alleged that the funds never went towards the purchase of Super Bowl tickets but instead Fazeli gambled much of the money away while a portion was used for enterting high-stakes poker tournaments at the Aria Casino in Las Vegas.

Fazeli cashed in 10 tournaments in 2016 with a buy-in of at least $25,000. All of them were at Aria. Nearly all of his $2.2 million in lifetime tournament earnings came in 2016, CardPlayer.com reports.

Fazeli was arrested on February 14 and released on bond a day the next day. If convicted, he could face up to 40 years in prison.

- Nagesh Rath, Gambling911.com

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