A poker pro who ran a Las Vegas-based ticket business was sentenced today in Santa Ana to 18 months in federal prison for masterminding a $6.2 million scam that bilked investors who were promised large profits from the resale of tickets to high-profile sporting events.
Seyed Reza Ali Fazeli, 49, of Aliso Viejo, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter to pay $7.5 million in restitution. After he completes his prison sentence, Fazeli will be under home confinement for six months.
Attorney Kate Corrigan said her client, who entered into a plea agreement last July, "made a very poignant statement" to Carter in which he said that it "makes me sick to my stomach to think how much I've violated the law and disgraced my family."
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Fazeli said he was "sick with shame" for having to leave his wife alone to care for their disabled daughter, according to Corrigan.
Federal prosecutors said Fazeli ran Summit Entertainment Group, which also operated under the names onlinetickets.com and pacertickets.com, and described him as a professional poker player.
Between May 2016 through at least the following May, Fazeli solicited investors in Orange County, Houston and Las Vegas, who were told the $6.2 million they wired to Summit would be used to purchase tickets to the 2017 Super Bowl and the 2018 World Cup that would be resold at a substantial profit.
But Fazeli never purchased large amounts of tickets for either sporting event as promised, and instead used the investors' money for gambling expenses at the Aria and Bellagio casinos in Las Vegas and for other personal expenses, according to his plea agreement.
Fazelli told the investors that the ticket sales did not go well because the National Football League prohibited them from being resold, and that he was trying to hammer out a settlement with the league, according to prosecutors.
One investor was bilked out of about $2.6 million with promises to obtain tickets to last year's Super Bowl and this year's World Cup, according to the plea agreement.