O.C. Pro Poker Player Pleads Guilty to Fraud Charges for Theft of over $6 Million Dollars in Sales Scheme Related to Super Bowl and World Cup Ticket Sales
SANTA ANA, California – An Orange County man has pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud offense and admitted operating a $6 million scheme that bilked investors who were promised large profits from the resale of tickets to high-profile sporting events, including the Super Bowl and the World Cup.
Seyed Reza Ali Fazeli, 49, of Aliso Viejo, a professional poker player, ran a Las Vegas-based ticket business called Summit Entertainment, which also operated under the names onlinetickets.com and pacertickets.com.
According to court records, from May 2016 through May 2017, Fazeli solicited investors in Orange County, Houston and Las Vegas to send approximately $6 million to Summit Entertainment to purchase tickets to the 2017 Super Bowl and the 2018 World Cup games. Fazeli told the victims that Summit Entertainment would resell the tickets at a substantial profit and share the proceeds with them.
After numerous investors wired approximately $6 million to Summit for sports tickets, Fazeli failed to provide any profit distribution. Fazeli falsely told the victims that the ticket sales went poorly because the NFL prohibited their resale and that he was negotiating a settlement with the NFL.
According to court documents, Fazeli never purchased large numbers of Super Bowl or World Cup tickets as promised. Instead, he used the money for gambling expenses at Las Vegas Casinos and for personal expenses.
United States District Judge David O. Carter set sentencing for January 28, 2019. Fazeli faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Anyone who may have been victimized by Summit Entertainment or Fazeli is encouraged to contact the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at 310-477-6565.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph T. McNally of the Santa Ana Branch office.