March 16 (UPI) — A professional poker player was indicted for wire fraud Thursday for allegedly bilking investors out of more than $6 million in a scheme involving Super Bowl and World Cup tickets.
Federal prosecutors in California’s central district say Seyed Reza Ali Fazeli, 49, ran a bogus Las Vegas-based ticket business called Summit Entertainment, which he used to solicit investors in California, Texas and Nevada, promising big returns on the resale of tickets to the 2017 Super Bowl and the upcoming 2018 World Cup.
After investors wired more than $6 million to Ali, he “falsely told the victims that the ticket sales did not go well because the NFL prohibited their resale and that he was working on a settlement with the NFL,” prosecutors said.
But court documents show that Ali never purchased the tickets.
“Instead, he used the money for gambling expenses at the Aria and Bellagio casinos in Las Vegas and for personal expenses,” prosecutors said.
Ali was charged with two counts of wire fraud and faces up to 40 years in prison.
He also faces several civil lawsuits related to the ticket scheme, the Orange County Register reported.
This isn’t the first time Ali was involved in a high-dollar ticket-flipping scheme.
In 2006, he sold World Cup tickets online through onlinetickets.com. But those tickets were never received, resulting in a lawsuit and a $1,176,500 settlement against Ali.