Poker pro Seyed Reza Ali Fazeli pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges after being indicted in March for allegedly soliciting investors from three states to wire him more than $6 million to start a ticket-resale business.
Fazeli admitted in a Santa Ana, California court on Tuesday that he spent the money to gamble, repay gambling debts, and for personal expenses. Fazeli was particularly active on the Las Vegas high roller poker scene in previous years. His live tournament bankroll amounts to more than $2.2 million. His HendonMob profile shows that he last cashed in a live tournament back in December 2016, when he finished second in a $25,000 buy-in Aria High Roller event for $247,680.
Prosecutors have disclosed that Fazeli ran Summit Entertainment, a Nevada-located company that promised investors to buy Super Bowl and World Cup tickets and resale those at a huge profit. It has been understood that the poker pro was thus wired around $6.2 million in the period between May 2016 and May 2017 by investors from Nevada, California, and his homestate Texas.
Summit Entertainment operated the onlinetickets.com and pacertickets.com websites through which the tickets resale was supposed to take place. Despite previous promises for a healthy profit, Fazeli failed to provide returns to the investment made by his victims.
The poker player told investors that the business performed poorly as the NFL had prohibited any ticket resales. His explanations proved to be false, prosecutors have revealed, as he admittedly spent the money he had received to cover personal expenses and he never bought the tickets.
Fazeli’s sentencing is scheduled for January 28, 2019. The poker player could spend up to 20 years in jail now as he has pleaded guilty to wire fraud.
Poker Professionals among Fazeli’s Investors
Poker news outlet CardPlayer reported earlier this year that there were professional poker players among Fazeli’s victims. The poker website produced a copy of the joint complaint filed by three popular poker pros who claimed that they had invested a total of $1.3 million into Fazeli’s business.
The complaint showed that Erik Seidel, John Juanda, and Zachary Clark, all three of whom are accomplished tournament players, were among the people who have invested into Fazeli’s ticket-resale operation that never really materialized.
According to court papers, Seidel and Clark each pumped half a million dollars into their fellow poker pro’s fraudulent business, while Juanda invested $300,000. It is unclear whether the $1.3 million provided by the three players was included in the above $6.2 million Fazeli obtained in his admitted wire fraud.
It has also emerged that Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas has, too, filed a lawsuit against Fazeli over an unpaid casino credit the property has extended 34 separate times. Aria has been one of the casinos the player has been frequenting. He has won quite some of the $25,000 high roller tournaments the property is well-known for.