San Diego Fraud Ring Behind Bank Account Scam Targeting Poker Pros
- Fraud ring from San Diego behind bank scam which affected several poker pros
- More than 100 poker players were affected by the scam
- Scam carried out via a security hole on the Global Payments VIP Preferred service
Back in November 2022, Todd Witteles shared that he was one of the victims of a banking fraud targeting poker players.
Now, the PokerFraudAlert founder has confirmed that the culprits behind the scam are members of an organized fraud ring based in San Diego.
Fraud Ring Stole Money from up to 100 Poker Players
In a tweet, Witteles revealed that the ring victimized between 50 and 100 poker players by stealing money from their bank accounts. The criminals illegally obtained data from the Global Payments VIP Preferred service and used them to create bogus accounts on poker sites and other gaming platforms under the names of various poker players.
An estimated 50-100 poker pros had money stolen from their bank accounts via a huge security hole in Oct/Nov.
— Todd Witteles (@ToddWitteles) December 28, 2022
The ring was able to get players’ personal info including their full name, address, and the last four digits of their security number. The criminals would set up a fake account in a location where the targeted player is unlikely to have an account. In Witteles’ case, a bogus account was created under his name on BetMGM West Virginia. He has never been to the state.
As described by Witteles via a story on the PokerFraudAlert forum, the scam was a combination of bank account fraud and identity theft.
The scam was initially reported by Joseph Cheong who lost $9,800 in his bank account. The culprits transferred the money through eCheck to a fake account on BetMGM Poker and BetMGM Casino. Cheong was shocked as he doesn’t have any account on both platforms.
Some poker pros, such as Chance Kornuth and Phil Galfond, were able to prevent the fraud by immediately taking security precautions after the warning from Witteles and Cheong, but many others had up to $10,000 stolen from their bank accounts. Apart from Witteles and Cheong, other familiar names hit by the fraud include Kyna England, Kathy Liebert, Brock Wilson and Melissa Burr.
No Comments Yet from Companies Involved
The fraud ring was able to successfully carry out the criminal activity using a security loophole on Global Payments. The company facilitates fund transfers for most regulated online gaming sites in the US, including WSOP.com and BetMGM.
The criminals used burner phones and VPNs in the scam, according to Witteles. He said he couldn’t provide further information on the matter as a criminal investigation is ongoing.
Global Payments denied that its system was having security issues, but Witteles argues the scam was carried out via a “gaping and obvious security hole”.
Global Payments and the online operators involved have yet to issue an official statement on the ongoing investigation.