Ali Fazeli Pleads Guilty to $6.2m Sports Ticket Resale Scam

Ali Fazeli Pleads Guilty to $6.2m Sports Ticket Resale Scam

Californian poker pro Ali Fazeli has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with a sports ticket resale scam that he organized that netted him around $6.2 million. Fazeli had told his victims that he would use the money they gave him to buy and sell tickets to prominent sporting events, such as the 2017 Super Bowl and 2018 FIFA World Cup, for a significant profit, but instead allegedly frittered the money away at Las Vegas casinos, as well using the funds to pay off his gambling debts.

The 49-year-old Orange County resident was investigated last year by the FBI, and was arrested on February 14 after it was discovered that he had never purchased any tickets at all. Fazeli was subsequently indicted back in March, and after recently pleading guilty to the charges now faces the prospect of 20 years behind bars when his sentencing takes place on January 28th. The plea deal, however, may result in him serving much less time, while Fazeli would also be “required to pay full restitution to the victims.”

Summit Entertainment Business

Seyad Reza Ali Fazeli ran a ticket business called Summit Entertainment until May 2017, and also resold tickets via his online website In 2015, Fazeli even convinced Mel Sembler, a former US ambassador and Florida real estate developer, to invest $5 million in the business, including buying a block of tickets for the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four. Instead of receiving payment, however, Fazeli convinced Sembler that the deal had gone well and to let his profits ride on the next enterprise. After no future payments were subsequently received, Sembler filed a $5 million lawsuit against Fazeli in July 2017.

Fazeli obtained further investment in his sports resale scam from poker pros Erik Seidel and Zachary Clark, who are believed to have sunk $500,000 apiece into his sports scalping business, while Juanda also contributed a further $300,000. Following his indictment, these three high profile poker pros subsequently filed a civil claim against Fazeli in Nevada’s Clark County District Court in April, although the identities of his other investors has not been made public, with the exception of Stephen Moreschi.

The Aria Resort and Casino is also trying to sue Fazeli for unpaid casino markers, but like his other duped marks is likely to still be left out of pocket at the end of the day. According to the casino, Fazeli was extended credit worth a total of $2.1 million on 34 separate occasions, with the scammer having paid back just $1 million of that amount to the resort.

Wire Fraud

According to court records, Fazeli solicited and obtained more than $6 million in funds for his scalping company, with his numerous investors wiring the money through to his Summit Entertainment business. As an extract from his court case explains:

“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.. 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.”

Poker Career

Ali Fazeli cashed in at his first live tournament back in 2011, with his average tournament buy-in usually in the low hundreds until February 2015. By the end of that year, he then started entering $25,000 “High Roller” events at the Aria in Las Vegas, and enjoyed some measure of success after placing runner-up at one tournament for $136,800. In total, Fazeli earned $219,368 in 2015, but the following year his winnings for the year soared to $1,823,160.

Counted amongst his many successes in 2016 was a string of impressive cashes, including three wins for $288,000, $292,320, and $403,200. Fazeli’s last tournament cash, however, was all the way back in December 2016, despite his claim to have spent some of his misappropriated funds entering high roller poker tournaments in Las Vegas, evidently without even a solitary success.