Pro Poker Player Indicted on Fraud Charges Alleging Theft of over $6 Million Dollars in Super Bowl and World Cup Ticket-Flipping Scam
SANTA ANA, California – An Orange County man has been indicted on wire fraud charges that allege a $6 million scheme that bilked investors who were promised large profits from the resale of tickets to high-profile sporting events.
Seyed Reza Ali Fazeli, 49, a professional poker player who resides in Aliso Viejo, was named in a two-count indictment returned Wednesday by a federal grand jury.
The indictment alleges that Fazeli ran a Las Vegas-based ticket business called Summit Entertainment, which also operated under the names onlinetickets.com and pacertickets.com. From May 2016 through at least May 2017, Fazeli solicited investors in Orange County, Houston and Las Vegas, Nevada to send approximately $6.2 million to Summit to purchase tickets to the 2017 Super Bowl and the 2018 World Cup. Fazeli allegedly told investors that Summit would resell the tickets at a substantial profit and share the proceeds with the investors.
Investors wired more than $6 million to Summit to purchase tickets for last year’s Super Bowl, but after the event Fazeli failed to provide any profit distribution to investors, according to the indictment. Fazeli allegedly 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.
According to court documents, Fazeli never purchased large amounts of Super Bowl or World Cup tickets as promised. Instead, he used the money for gambling expenses at the Aria and Bellagio casinos in Las Vegas and for personal expenses.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
If he were to be convicted of the two charges in the indictment, Fazeli would face a statutory maximum penalty of 40 years in federal prison.
Fazeli was arrested in this case by the FBI on February 14 pursuant to a criminal complaint. During a court hearing the next day, he was released on a $120,000 bond and was ordered to appear in United States District Court for an arraignment on March 26.
Anyone who may have been victimized by Summit or Fazeli is encouraged to contact the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at 310-477-6565.
The investigation into Fazeli is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph T. McNally.