August 14, 2022

Professional poker player arrested for fraud and money laundering in connection with alleged sports betting scheme

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A professional poker player was arrested on Wednesday for his alleged involvement in a sports betting scheme that netted victims more than $25 million.

Cory Zeidman, 61, a World Series of Poker bracelet winner, faces charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering conspiracy in connection with the scheme, according to an unsealed two-count indictment in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

He reportedly operated the program from Long Island and Florida between 2004 and 2020.

According to the indictment, Zeidman held a senior position at the “Phoenix Organization”, an organization through which he and his co-conspirators carried out the alleged scheme.

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A gambler counts his chips while placing a bet in Toronto, March 7, 2005.
(Getty)

The victims allegedly sent Zeidman and his co-conspirators fees worth more than $25 million in U.S. currency via interstate wire transfers and private commercial carriers, believing the organization gave them information.” privileged” that made sports betting a risk-free situation.

“As alleged, Zeidman defrauded his victims, stole their life savings and persuaded them to empty their retirement accounts to invest in his bogus sports betting group, all so he could spend it on an international vacation, a residence of several million dollars and poker tournaments,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said. “Today’s indictment reminds us all to beware of so-called investment opportunities that claim to have inside information, as they truly are a gamble not worth taking. .”

The alleged scheme saw Zeidman and his co-conspirators place radio advertisements in various markets across the United States that claimed to advertise as a “sophisticated white-collar approach to gathering sports news” with the promise of “betting as an investment, not a high-risk game”. .”

Playing cards and casino chips

Playing cards and casino chips
(Stock)

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The advertisements reportedly told listeners to call a number where they would receive specific information that could be used to win when betting on sporting events.

When the victims called the number, Zeidman and the co-conspirators misled the victims, allegedly telling them that certain sporting events were “rigged” and that they knew the results of those events. Callers had to pay a fee to access the information.

Zeidman also used various pseudonyms during the scheme, as well as fake company names, including Gordon Howard Global, Ray Palmer Group and Grant Sports International.

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A person holds two deuces in their hand while playing poker.

A person holds two deuces in their hand while playing poker.
(Photo by Annette Riedl/picture alliance via Getty Images)

“As alleged, Zeidman preyed on individuals who were tricked into believing he had inside information that would lead them to easy money,” said Ricky J. Patel, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Investigations. homeland security in New York. “In reality, he was selling nothing but lies and misinformation – defrauding millions of victims along the way, leaving their lives in financial ruin and their bank accounts empty.”