CHICAGO (CBS) — A New Trier High School graduate who became a celebrity sports gambler was charged Wednesday with defrauding a person out of $9.6 million.
As CBS 2’s Chris Tye reported, Robert Gorodetsky goes by “BigRobStyle” on social media. This week, federal charges came the way of the Northbrook man.
In December 2017, Robert Gorodetsky was the subject of a USA Today profile titled, “Is this the future face of sports gambling?” The article said USA Today Sports had shadowed Gorodetsky in October and November of that year as he wagered “well over $1 million” on various sporting events, as well as tens of thousands in blackjack and roulette.
He was known for big bets and ginned up balance sheets. In the 2017 interview with USA Today, the 27-year-old talked about the advice-driven gambling business that allowed him to live the opulent life his social media accounts detailed – flying in private jets, flashy sports cars, private time with rappers, and of course, thousands in poker chips.
One Facebook post from October 2015 showed cash with, “Buy my sports packages,” written next to it. One year earlier, at least one person did just that.
In a complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, federal prosecutors claimed “Big Rob” Gorodetsky defrauded $9.6 million from an unnamed Individual A by lying about the intended use of the money that person invested and the actual returns on it.
Prosecutors said Gorodetsky claimed he would pool Individual A’s investment with substantial funs he himself claimed to have – which together would be used to invest in the stock market and place wagers on specific sporting events. He said they would share the profits and losses, prosecutors said.
But when Gorodetsky took $953,000 from Individual A to invest in the stock market, he converted about $737,388 for his own personal use, prosecutors said. Meanwhile, in July 2014, Gorodetsky claimed the investment had increased to about $2 million – and advised that it could be better used in sports betting, prosecutors said.
Between July 2014 and November 2017, Gorodetsky also fraudulently took $8.74 million in additional investment funds for sports betting purposes, prosecutors said. But he actually used that money for other purposes – including living, travel, entertainment expenses, luxury cars, and jewelry that were worth $2.2 million altogether, prosecutors said.
Gorodetsky also submitted a federal tax return in 2016 claiming his total income was only $10,520 when it was substantially more, prosecutors said.
Gorodetsky was charged with wire fraud and filing a false tax return.
The 2017 USA Today profile showed Gorodestky wearing a black baseball cap with the word “GAMBLR.” In white letters.
The profile said Gorodetsky sat courtside at NBA basketball games and behind the plate at Major League Baseball games, cavorted with “beautiful women, including a former Miss Utah and Miss California,” and shared photos of himself with Odell Beckham Jr. and other athletes, as well as the rapper Drake.
With sports betting being legalized in many jurisdictions at the time, Gorodetsky and his “inner circle” told USA Today they thought he could, as writer Josh Peter put it, “emerge as America’s leading sports bettor and sell his advice to gamblers across the country.”
CBS 2 tried to reach Gorodetsky Wednesday night, but could not get past the gate outside his north suburban development. His attorney did not return our calls.
Gorodetsky is due in court next month.