Travell Thomas Charged In Fraud

Travell Thomas Charged In Fraud

Friday, 20 November 2015

American professional poker player Travell Thomas has been charged by federal prosecutors in the United States over his alleged involvement in a fraud and debt collection scheme that raked in $31 million.

The indictment from the Southern District of New York alleges that Thomas and 14 others routinely attempted ‘to trick and coerce thousands of victims throughout the United States into paying millions of dollars in consumer debts through a variety of false statements and false threats’.

The US District Court prosecutors charge that the defendants, which also include Jimmy Stoke, Heather Gasta and Tacoby Thomas, deceived victims by claiming to work for a Buffalo-based company that was affiliated with local government and law enforcement agencies including the office of the Southern District of New York. The ruse allegedly asked victims to pay up immediately or face arrest and having their driving licences suspended.

“As alleged, the defendants engaged in what is believed to be the largest fraudulent debt collection scheme ever to be prosecuted, falsely threatening arrest and prosecution of countless Americans including those who suffered from disabilities,” read a statement from Preet Bharara, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

“The defendants charged today allegedly took ruthless advantage of the desperate situation in which their victims found themselves, using threats and lies to coerce payment and even trying to collect more money than the victims ever owed.”

The indictment claims that 37-year-old Thomas, who has career earnings of $510,885 including $11,379 courtesy of two cashes at this summer’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas, Nevada, was paid $750,000 while tens of thousands of dollars from the scam was utilised to pay for the New York native’s gambling expenses, tickets for professional sports games and wedding reception as well as jewellery and cosmetic surgery for his wife.

Tags: Travell Thomas, Jimmy Stoke, Heather Gasta, Tacoby Thomas, Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, World Series Of Poker, WSOP