A poker pro who ran a Las Vegas-based ticket business was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly masterminding a $6.2 million scam that bilked investors, who were promised large profits from the resale of tickets to high-profile sporting events, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
The two-count wire fraud indictment against Seyed Reza Ali Fazeli, 49, of Aliso Viejo was handed down Wednesday.
Federal prosecutors said Fazeli ran Summit Entertainment Group, which also operated under the names onlinetickets.com and pacertickets.com, and described him as a professional poker player, a characterization that his attorney disputed.
“I don’t believe that’s an accurate description of what my client does for a living. He’s been in the ticket business for many years,” said attorney Kate Corrigan, who added that he “is planning to vigorously defend himself and does not agree with the allegations that have been made against him.”
Between May 2016 through at least the following May, Fazeli solicited investors in Orange County, Houston and Las Vegas, who were told the $6.2 million they wired to Summit would be used to purchase tickets to the 2017 Super Bowl and the 2018 World Cup that would be resold at a substantial profit. But Fazeli never purchased large amounts of tickets for either sporting event as promised, and instead used the investors’ money for gambling expenses at the Aria and Bellagio casinos in Las Vegas and for other personal expenses, the indictment alleges.
Fazelli is accused of telling the investors that the ticket sales did not go well because the National Football League prohibited them from being resold, and that he was trying to hammer out a settlement with the league.
He was arrested Feb. 14 and released the following day on a $120,000 bond, and is due in court on March 26.
If convicted of both wire fraud counts, he would face a maximum penalty of 40 years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
–City News Service