Former World Series of Poker bracelet winner Cory Zeidman has been arrested on charges of fraud and money laundering related to a sports betting scheme. The pro poker player was detained on Wednesday on charges of a plot that brought in more than $25 million from alleged victims.
Zeidman (61) now faces federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering as part of the scheme, which spanned from 2004 to 2020, explains a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The defendant led a group “that made tens of millions of dollars misleading victims into believing the group had inside information on college and professional sporting events,” according to a two-count indictment unsealed in the District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
The former WSOP bracelet winner allegedly operated the fraud scheme from Long Island and Florida. The defendant was arrested on Wednesday morning in Florida, and will make his initial appearance at the federal courthouse in Miami.
“As alleged, Zeidman defrauded his victims, stole their life savings 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,” stated United States Attorney Breon Peace.
Zeidman allegedly preyed on individuals who were led to believe he had inside information that would lead them to easy money while, in reality, he was “selling nothing but lies and misinformation,” according to Homeland Security Investigations New York Acting Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel.
The defendant is accused of being the leader of an organization that placed national radio advertisements to lure victims to retain the organization for sports betting advice. Victims were then led to believe that the organization had privileged information that made betting on sporting events a no-risk proposition.
Victims were required to pay a fee to obtain this information, the press statement further explains. Unbeknownst to them, the alleged insider data was either fictitious, or obtained from an internet search by the defendant and his co-conspirators, leading many victims to lose their life savings.
ESPN reports that, as part of the scheme, Zeidman and his co-conspirators told victims their “organization” had privileged information about fixed games that it received from physicians at colleges and television executives.
According to reports, the defendant used over a dozen aliases for the scheme, while some of the company names used in the scam included Gordon Howard Global, Ray Palmer Group, and Grant Sports International.