Whenever an investment or a wager seems too good to be true, it’s usually too good to be true.
Or it could be a crime.
An indictment unsealed Wednesday can serve as a cautionary tale for other sports touts claiming inside information, fool-proof betting systems or some other alleged scheme that’s going to allow paying customers to pick winners and get rich at a rate that defies the odds.
A two-count indictment against Cory Zeidman, 61, was unsealed Wednesday in New York, charging the Florida resident with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering conspiracy in connection with an alleged sports betting fraud scheme he operated from Long Island and Florida. Zeidman was arrested Wednesday morning in Florida.
There are no legal mobile Florida sports betting options.
The Seminole Tribe briefly operated a mobile sports betting app last year, but it’s currently shut down as the tribe’s case goes through the court system.
Radio Ads Touted Betting Advice
Zeidman was the alleged leader of the "Phoenix Organization," which placed national radio advertisements touting the organization’s sports betting advice, based on privileged information that made betting on sporting events a no-risk proposition.
The “expert” advice, of course, cost a fee, but unbeknownst to patrons, the advice was allegedly either made up or found on the internet. Many of the organization’s customers lost their life savings.
According to the indictment, when people called the number from the radio ads, “Zeidman and his co-conspirators falsely told the Victims, among other things, that certain sporting events were predetermined, or ‘fixed,’ and that Zeidman and his co-conspirators knew the outcomes of the events.”
Also from the indictment: “. . . as a result of this fraudulent scheme, the Victims sent the defendant Cory Zeidman and his co-conspirators fees worth a total of more than twenty-five million dollars and zero cents ($25,000,000.00) in United States currency via interstate wire transfers and private and commercial carriers.”
A quartet of law enforcement officials from the Justice Department, Homeland Security, the Nassau County (Long Island) Police Department and the U.S. Postal Service, announced the charges.
“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. “Today’s indictment serves as a reminder to all of us to be wary of so-called investment opportunities that purport to have inside information, as they are really a gamble not worth taking.”
Officals Claim Numerous Aliases Used in Scheme
Zeidman allegedly used the following aliases: Richard Barnes, Walter Barr, Mr. Carlyle, Ray Palmer, Rick Cash, Elliot Stern, Gordon Howard, David Coates, Simon Coates, Paul Knox, Mark Lewis, Joel Orenstein and Steve Nash. Some of the company names allegedly used by Zeidman’s scheme were Gordon Howard Global, Ray Palmer Group and Grant Sports International.
“As alleged, Zeidman preyed on individuals who were led to believe he had inside information that would lead them to easy money. 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,” said New York Acting Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel, of Homeland Security Inspections. “HSI will continue to work together with our partners to follow the money and tackle complex financial investigations to bring to justice fraudsters like Zeidman, who finance their lavish lifestyles by concocting ways to bamboozle the innocent when their only real goal is lining their pockets with ill-gotten cash.”
If you believe you have been the victim of the alleged crimes in this story, you should contact Homeland Security Investigations at (866) 347-2423.
“Mr. Zeidman took advantage of the public’s interest to ‘get in on the ground floor’ of his sports betting organization. He devised a criminal scheme to fatten his pockets using nothing more than people’s love for sports and his clever words wrapped around a fraud. Postal Inspectors remind investors to thoroughly review all investment offers to ensure they are not left with a line of empty promises and a drained bank account,” said Inspector in Charge Daniel Brubaker of the Postal Service.