Blackjack Con Beats Casinos, Court

I’ve written some Dumb Crook News in the past on this site, but this time it’s the court and the casinos who were dumb. The crook made out like, well, a bandit. I guess sometimes crime does pay.

A Turkish man named Seyit Ibrahim Yel (if that is his name) allegedly conned countless casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. He was arrested on other charges and then, despite warrants for his arrest, released on a technicality. The casinos have tried to sue him to get their money back, but unfortunately no one can find him.

Back in 2008, Yel went around to casinos across the nation posing as a wealthy business man named “Mustafa Seda.” Seda passed himself as a high roller, being flown into the casinos on private planes and staying in complementary suites, all courtesy of the casino. After all, casinos are more than happy to pay for things like that for the high rollers. The problem is, the real Seda might have been a high roller, but Yel wasn’t him.

Instead of bringing his own money to the casinos, Yel did what many high rollers do and took out markers, which are basically loans from the casino that allow you to play on their dime. If you win, you pay them back with your winning chips and if you lose, they deduct the amount of your marker from your bank account. However, there was no money in Yel’s account to cover the marker, making that loan the equivalent of knowingly writing a bad check. That would also be known as fraud.

Yel apparently is a good blackjack player, because he won some money at those casinos. Then, instead of paying back the marker amount, he either walked out with it or passed the winnings on to an accomplice.

Yel was later arrested for an unrelated scam involving a theft of $77,000 worth of gasoline. While awaiting his trial, authorities notified the Nassau County Judge that Yel was wanted for the casino scams and had warrants for his arrest in Nevada and New Jersey. However, because he went by the alias of Mustafa Seda and the casinos and authorities in those jurisdictions thought that was his real name, the warrants were under the name of Seda. Because those warrants were under a different name, the judge ruled that they were invalid and allowed bail for a mere $3,500.

Since Yel had conned Vegas casinos out of $420,000 in one week alone, coming up with the bail wasn’t much of a problem. Upon being released from jail, Yel decided against the whole remaining in the country and awaiting his trial thing. Instead, he hopped on a plane and flew to the United Arab Emirates. Why the UAE and not Turkey, you ask? That could be because Turkey has an extradition treaty with the United States, whereas the UAE does not.

Since then, the Bellagio attempted to sue Yel to recover $200,000 stolen from their casino. However, that lawsuit was thrown out by a judge who said he had not been properly served. Also, the lawsuit was again in the name of Seda (okay, that time it was the casino’s fault).

I don’t know how this will affect the real Mustafa Seda. Yel illegally snuck into the United States across the unsecured border with Canada and then assumed the identity of wealthy businessman Seda, who had returned to Turkey earlier.

So what have we learned? First, that just because someone acts like a high roller doesn’t mean they are one. We also learned that you should always keep an eye on someone you loan $200,000 to. Also, our legal system needs to apply more common sense, so that using an alias can’t get you off the hook. If not, then we learned that if you commit fraud, all you have to do to get away with it is commit it under someone else’s name.

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