Plea deal reached in poker player's Super Bowl ticket scam
Former poker player Ali Fazeli came up with a bright idea. He concocted a scheme to purchase Super Bowl tickets and sell them at higher prices and solicited investments from several high rollers. In the end, he attracted $6.2 million, but not all the money went to the intended target - Fazeli used a large chunk to go gambling. He was busted over the scheme and has now reached a plea deal with prosecutors.
Fazeli pleaded guilty to wire fraud last month, acknowledging his role in swindling investors out of their money. Over $1 million of the funds he gathered came from just three players, Erik Seidel, Zach Clark and John Juanda. Fazeli was indicted this past March after not purchasing any of the tickets he promised and not repaying the investments.
Fazeli has admitted to using cashier's checks to transfer around $1.8 million at the Aria Casino. That money was used to participate in at least ten tournaments at the Aria in 2016, all of which had a minimum buy-in of $25,000. Of the $2.2 million he has earned playing poker, the majority was won that year.
The fraudster could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. However, copping a deal has the potential to reduce the sentence. He is still on the hook for the money, which, according to the courts, he will be required to pay back in full.
Fazeli still faces a lawsuit by the three high-roller investors, as well as another by the Aria Casino. The Aria extended him credit of $2.1 million between December 2016 and January 2017, and Fazeli never made good on $1.1 million of that credit.