A professional poker player was arrested Wednesday on charges of fraud and money laundering related to a sports betting scheme that brought in more than $25 million from alleged victims.
Cory Zeidman, of Boca Raton, Florida, faces federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering as part of the scheme that spanned from 2004 to 2020, according to a two-count indictment out of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
A law enforcement source confirmed to ESPN that Zeidman, 61, is a professional poker player who won a bracelet at the 2012 World Series of Poker.
According to the federal indictment unsealed Wednesday, Zeidman and his unnamed co-conspirators received more than $25 million in interstate wire transfers and private commercial carriers over 16 years from victims who were led to believe that the organization had privileged information that made betting on sporting events a no-risk proposition.
As part of the scheme, Zeidman and his co-conspirators placed misleading radio ads in various U.S. markets, claiming to have a “sophisticated white-collar approach to gathering sports information.”
When listeners contacted the service, which used names like “Gordon Howard Global” and “Ray Palmer Group,” they were told the organization had privileged information about fixed games that it received from physicians at colleges and television executives, according to the indictment. Callers were asked to pay a fee for access to the information.
“As alleged, Zeidman preyed on individuals who were led to believe he had inside information that would lead them to easy money,” Homeland Security Investigations New York acting special agent in charge Ricky J. Patel said in a release announcing the arrest. “In reality, he was selling nothing but lies and misinformation — bilking millions from victims along the way, leaving their lives in financial ruin and their bank accounts empty.”
United States Attorney Breon Peace said in the statement that Zeidman “defrauded” his victims and persuaded them to “drain their retirement accounts to invest in his bogus sports betting group, all so he could spend it on international vacations, a multi-million dollar residence and poker tournaments.”