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After five days of poker action the field of 550 players in the Card Player Poker Tour Bicycle Hotel & Casino main event was eventually whittled down to 23-year-old Andrew Wisdom, who earned the largest ...

Poker Pro Shawn Sheikhan Facing Deportation to Iran

A 1995 Sexual Battery Conviction Against a 17-Year-Old Girl is Haunting Him

Popular poker professional Shawn Sheikhan is facing deportation to Iran thanks to a 1995 conviction for which he already served more than nine months in prison.

Sheikhan served nine months in jail and was put on probation for five years after being convicted of misdemeanor sexual battery charges in 1995. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) actively searches for foreign nationals who were convicted of a sexual crime against children and then tries to get them deported.

Shawn Sheikhan According to Sheikhan's lawyer, David Chesnoff, the child in this case was a 17-year-old girl that Sheikhan knew when he was in his early 20s.

"It's not allegations involving a child in the actual meaning of the word, it's a legal definition," Chesnoff told Card Player. "There's a lot of work to be done on his behalf that's going to be done. He's a good husband and a good father, and a lot of people have problems when they're young that shouldn't follow them for the rest of their lives."

Chesnoff and his legal team are also looking into whether Sheikhan received adequate legal counsel the first time the case was presented in California. If he didn't, then it's possible that these charges could be erased from his record.

The 38-year-old Sheikhan immigrated to the United States when he was nine, has a small child, and is married to an American-born woman. This doesn't matter to ICE, who, through a spokesperson, has said it wants him out of the United States.

Sheikhan was arrested at his Las Vegas home on Aug. 30, and held for five days at the North Las Vegas Detention Center before Chesnoff and his legal team could get him released on a $10,000 bond. ICE wanted to hold Sheikhan until his deportation hearing - it even filed paperwork to stop his release - but a federal judge permitted bail.

"Maybe [ICE] should be looking for guys in Al-Qaeda instead of guys that are good people and, in the context of poker, who entertain people," Chesnoff said.

According to ICE, more than 9,300 people have been deported since Operation Predator began in 2003. Operation Predator is the name of the program that was instated by Homeland Security to protect children from sexual predators. The stated goal of Operation Predator is to "safeguard children from foreign national pedophiles, human traffickers, international sex tourists, and other predatory criminals."

It doesn't matter to ICE or Congress if the foreign national has already faced due process in the United States.

Sheikhan, whose real first name is Shahram, has more than $1.2 million in poker tournament winnings and is one of the most famous poker players in the world, thanks to his repeated clashes with Mike "the Mouth" Matusow at the World Series of Poker and on the television show High Stakes Poker. He has two second-place finishes and two third-place finishes in WSOP events since 2001.

Update: ICE confirmed that an immigration hearing will take place in Las Vegas Oct. 23. Both sides of the case will be presented, and a dismissal is possible. If the judge decides the case should be heard, then a date will be set at this time.
Tags: poker law


10 years ago

I find this Article inappropriate, I understand Sean Sheikhan is a well recognized poker pro. This may be a poker website but this matter is none of anybody's business. I'm sure this matter is hard enough for Sheikhan without this website outing him as a sex offender. Also this article gives no details and it comes off as a shot at Sheikhan. I'm sure he just dated a younger girl and things went bad. Nevertheless, good luck Sean, stay strong brutha.


10 years ago

The girl was hardly a child at 17. He already served his time. Leave him alone and allow him to continue to be a good citizen.


10 years ago

Dear mcaskill,
I find it disturbing that you think this article is disrespectful towards Shawn. I’ve been waiting for CP to come out with the real story and details on the age of the minor victim in this case. The articles I read on three other websites were sensational, to say the least, and put Shawn in a despicable light. I don’t condone Shawn’s behavior, but I’m relieved to hear the truth. The poker authority comes through again. Good job Bob.


10 years ago

This 'ICE' has more important things to worry about. As the article says, it should worry about Al-Qaeda/Terrorism, not good-hearted people.

If anything, maybe ICE could go after Britney Spears and deport her for being a train-wreck :-! LMAO, J/K


10 years ago

Sheikhan paid his debt to society two years before this agency was even created. When did Ahmadinejad, who was permitted entrance to this country, ever pay HIS debt for all HIS crimes against humanity? Congratulations to ICE for making America an even greater laughing stock than it already is, you morons. And Sheiky, do the right thing and continue to love your wife, children, and adopted country in spite of this aberrant idiocy.


10 years ago

Someone explain something to me here...the article says Sheikhan is now 38 years old. If he's 38 in 2007, that makes him 25 or 26 when he was convicted in 1995. Sounds more like his MID-twenties rather his early twenties like his lawyer would have us believe.

Frankly, I am not a Sean Sheikhan fan. While I agree that a mistake from his past for which he has already served his time should not follow him for the rest of his life the way it seems to be doing now, after his antics at the '05 World Series and on High Stakes Poker when he berated Hellmuth with a condoning nod of approval from the floor, it's kind of hard to be supportive of him at this juncture.


10 years ago

It's kind of hard to support him because of his antics? Absurd man - good thing you're not attorney general. This is a total witch hunt - the worst of what we're seeing right now from some of our shadier laws.


10 years ago

Not disagreeing with you; let me repeat, a mistake from his past for which he has already served his time should not follow him for the rest of his life the way it seems to be doing now. All I'm saying is that I think the guy is an a**hole because of what I've seen him do in the relatively recent past and, consequently, it won't really break my heart if he is deported.


over 8 years ago

I worked for this guy in Las Vegas Nevada for years until I found out he liked little girls.
The way the tattoo shop runs is:
The Father puts the ownership in his name and he spends a lot playing poker, BUT the truth is that his father used to be a head general for Iran's army. served right there with the top of the country. His father embezzled money from the Iranian government to come to America and open tattoo shops, smoke shops (where they sell "crack pipes" under different names to comply with regulations, and then complain about getting robbed by them. On top of that, look at what they provide to the already seedy under-belly of Las Vegas), as well as gas stations.
His father still flies back and forth to Iran and it has been rumored that he pours money in to the efforts of terrorism.
Like I said, I used to work for Diversity tattoo and this is how they work.
When I was there I approached his wife about the Sterilizer not working properly, and that people who where tattooed and pierced should be notified becaucuse they could be carrying a deadly disease around unknowingly since they refuse to admit user fault on one of THEIR trainees. I was threatened to keep my mouth shut or I would lose my job. Needless to say i do not work there any longer, being without a job is better than being Pro-Terrorist, in my book.
After 9/11 people have to know these people support terrorism and do not care about the health of people who shop in their stores. Be safe and know that these people are dangerous and, at the VERY least, "Shawn" should be DEPORTED, in the name of the safety of America and it's citizens.