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Man Accused Of Using Ticket Scam To Fund High Roller Poker Buy-Ins Takes Plea Deal

Ali Fazeli Admits To Wire Fraud, According To Court Documents


Fazeli. Credit: FurmanA gambler charged with orchestrating a sports ticket resale scam has taken a plea deal.

According to court documents obtained by Card Player Magazine, Seyed Reza Ali Fazeli pleaded guilty to wire fraud last month. Fazeli admitted to defrauding investors out of about $6.2 million, money he used for gambling sessions, including buy-ins to high roller poker tournaments at the Aria Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip in 2016.

More than $1 million of the $6.2 million came collectively from poker players Erik Seidel, John Juanda and Zach Clark. The trio sued Fazeli in Nevada over what was called a Ponzi scheme in court papers. Fazeli ran Summit Entertainment, a business that he claimed could resell 2,800 tickets to the 2017 NFL Super Bowl at a substantial profit. Fazeli, who was indicted in March, never bought the tickets and never repaid the poker pros.

Fazeli admitted to transferring about $1.8 million of his ill-gotten gains to the Aria casino via cashier’s checks, according to the plea agreement filed in federal court in California.

Fazeli cashed in 10 tournaments in 2016 with a buy-in of at least $25,000. All of them were at Aria. Nearly all of his $2.2 million in lifetime poker tournament earnings came in 2016.

He faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, but the plea deal could result in him serving much less. Additionally, Fazeli will be “required to pay full restitution to the victims.”

In a March press release announcing the indictment, the government referred to Fazeli as a “pro poker player.” According to the feds, Fazeli lives in Aliso Viejo, California.

Aria is also suing him for unpaid casino markers, according to a separate lawsuit in Nevada. Despite cashing for about $2 million in the poker tournaments and transferring $1.8 million to the casino, Fazeli was extended $2.1 million worth of casino credit between December 2016 and January 2017. The casino extended him credit 34 separate times, according to the lawsuit. Fazeli returned $1 million of the casino credit, which leaves him still on the hook for $1.1 million, according to the lawsuit. Aria says that Fazeli has “failed and refused” to pay up.