Seyed Reza Ali Fazeli, a poker player, was sentenced to 18 months behind bars for running a Ponzi scheme. Fazeli was indicted on multiple wire fraud charges after running a Ponzi scheme to defraud investors. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison by a U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California.
It is reported that Fazeli swindled the would-be investors a whopping $6.2m including three professional poker players. It was alleged that he used the bulk of the money to pay off bets and to sustain his poker career.
With the 2017 Super Bowl in the offing, Fazeli saw an opportunity to make money without breaking a sweat. Well, he only had to convince a few investors to invest in his “ticket re-sale” venture.
He promised the investors a 50/50 share of the profits after reselling the 2800 tickets to the 2017 Super Bowl. As a result, he managed to raise $6.2 million including from poker pros John Juanda, Zachary Clark, and Erik Seidel.
According to the lawsuit papers, Seidel invested $500,000. Clark also invested the same amount. Juanda invested $300,000. The Sembler Family for St Petersburg was fleeced $5M.
Firms were not spared either. A firm, Ticket man, claim to have given Fazeli $2.5 million. He allegedly ran the scam between May 2016 and 2017. Interestingly, he cashed out roughly about $2 million in poker winnings during the same period.
After seeing through the scam, the poker trio sued Fazeli seeking full restitution. As a result, a federal grand jury indicted him on wire fraud charges. He was facing more than 15 years behind bars. Fortunately, He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and accepted a plea deal.
Following his arrest in February 2018, the investigating FBI officer, BC Mason, commented that “A large portion of investor funds were used for the personal benefit of Fazeli, including millions spent at Las Vegas casinos.”
What’s next for Ali Fazeli?
For his actions, Ali Fazeli was sentenced to one and a half years in prison. In addition, he was sentenced to pay back $7.5 million to his victims. He will also serve 6 months of house arrest after doing time in prison.
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