CHICAGO (CBS) — Celebrity sports gambler Robert Gorodetsky pleaded guilty to fraud charges Wednesday, following charges that he defrauded someone out of $9.6 million.
Gorodetsky, 27, of Northbrook, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Winter Weather Advisory Remains In Parts Of Illinois And Indiana; Lake Effect Snow Lingers
In a plea agreement, Gorodetsky admitted that between 2014 and 2018, he schemed to defraud an unnamed person out of $9.6 million in purported stock market investments and sports wagers.
Gorodetsky represented himself as a successful “day trader” who would invest the person’s funds in the stock market and share int ehprofits.
But when Gorodetsky took $953,000 from that person 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.READ MORE: Upcoming Report From Northwestern Medicine Gives Clues About How Long COVID-19 Symptoms Can Linger
Gorodetsky also submitted a federal tax return in 2016 claiming his total income was only $10,520 when it was substantially more, prosecutors said.
In December 2017, 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.
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.”
U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo set Gorodetsky’s sentencing for April 29.MORE NEWS: 2 Men Seriously Injured After Shooting In Roseland
Wire fraud carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, while the tax charge carries a minimum sentence of three years.