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Poker Player Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison For Super Bowl Ticket Scam

Ali Fazeli Will Spend Time In Prison After Running A Ponzi Scheme To Fund His High-Stakes Poker Endeavors

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Ali Fazeli. Photo Credit: WSOP/Jayne FurmanSix months after taking a deal and pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud, a high-stakes poker player has been sentenced to 18 months behind bars.

Last spring, the feds indicted Seyed Reza Ali Fazeli on multiple charges of wire fraud after heading a Ponzi scheme that ripped off three poker pros and several other investors. Last week, he was sentenced to a year and a half in prison by Judge David O. Carter in a U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California.

Fazeli, 49, raised $6.2 million from investors, including poker pros Erik Seidel, John Juanda and Zachary Clark. Fazeli promised investors huge returns on a ticket resale business, called Summit Entertainment. The plan he laid out to investors was that he was going to buy about 2,800 tickets to the 2017 NFL Super Bowl and resell them for profit.

The three poker pros invested about $1.3 million of the $6.2 million raised. According to a civil lawsuit they filed in Nevada last year, Seidel and Clark each invested $500,000, while Juanda gave Fazeli $300,000.

Instead of using the funds raised to buy and resale tickets for major sporting events, as he promised to his investors, Fazeli used the money to fund his high-stakes poker addiction.

He ran the scam for about a year between May 2016 and 2017 and was a regular in many of the $25,000 buy-in high roller tournaments at the Aria and Bellagio. He cashed for about $2 million during that stretch, but eventually, the money was gone and his fraud was exposed.

Along with serving his time in prison, the Southern California native was sentenced to pay $7.5 million in restitution to his victims and serve six months of house arrest upon completion of his time in prison.