Poker Players in Trouble: Fazeli Sentenced, Raskin Pleads Guilty
A couple of poker players in hot water with the law over the past year or so were back in the news recently.
Both Micah Raskin and Ali Fazeli have been regulars at the felt in their regions, but it seems both will soon be serving time. The former pleaded guilty to charges carrying a five-year minimum sentence, while the latter was handed 18 months after running a high-dollar scam that ensnared a few high rollers.
Raskin Admits to Trafficking
Raskin's legal troubles began last February, when he was arrested and charged with a slew of felonies and a misdemeanor.
Authorities, in what was described by Flush Draw as a "multi-jurisdictional investigation," conducted a raid on a home and storage locker believed to be the property of Raskin. They confiscated 358 pounds of marijuana, as well as hash oils, paraphernalia, weapons and vehicles.
In total, the seized property was valued at around $1 million. The district attorney's office described the New York poker player, who has about $2 million in tournament cashes, as the "supplier of large amounts of marijuana and hash oils to the Baltimore area."
Facing the possibility of eight years in prison plus numerous fines, Raskin opted to enter a guilty plea.
According to a Thursday story in The Baltimore Sun, Raskin admitted to "trafficking hundreds of pounds of marijuana from a grower in California."
He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, which carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence. He'll reportedly be sentenced in June.
"He's taking responsibility for his action," his attorney told the Sun.
Fazeli Pleads Guilty as Well
Raskin wasn't the only poker player with big money winnings who will be sitting behind bars for the near future.
Ali Fazeli, who could often be found grinding the ARIA $25,000 High Roller series, apparently used some of the connections he made there to facilitate a high-dollar scam.
According to Flush Draw, Fazeli masterminded a scam centered around sports ticket reselling under a company called "Summit Entertainment" starting in 2015 and stretching into 2016. He collected over $6 million in investment money, including handsome sums from the likes of John Juanda, Erik Seidel and Zachary Clark. Flush Draw reported the latter two invested $500,000 apiece.
Fazeli may have ended up using the money to fire the ARIA events, which he cashed in to the tune of around $2 million between November 2015 and December 2016, including three wins and seven six-figure scores. Prior to that, Fazeli's tournament cashes had come exclusively in events under $1,500.
When things fell apart, Fazeli was charged with wire-fraud felony in his home state of California. He pleaded guilty to one count in July, and on Wednesday received an 18-month prison sentence and a $7.5 million restitution order.
Fazeli may face further consequences in the form of civil suits from both investors and ARIA, which Flush Draw said seeks restitution for unpaid casino markers.
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