Updated February 6, 2020 - 6:54 pm
A man with ties to the Las Vegas sports betting world pleaded guilty Wednesday to a $9.6 million fraud scheme.
Robert Gorodetsky, 27, admitted in federal court in Chicago that he bankrolled his gambling career and luxury lifestyle by defrauding a single victim for upward of four years, according to the Department of Justice. He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return.
Before he was charged in a criminal information last month, Gorodetsky was featured in a 2017 USA Today Sports profile, which questioned whether he was the “future face of sports gambling.”
The story called Gorodetsky the “one of the most compelling and controversial, albeit largely unknown, figures in sports,” and described how he wore a $47,000 watch, a $6,000 hoodie and $2,500 high tops to meet with a reporter at Aria’s High Limit Lounge in Las Vegas.
But prosecutors said his gambling career was fueled almost entirely on funds from a victim identified only as “Individual A.”
Gorodetsky presented himself as a successful day trader who offered to invest the victim’s money in the stock market and share in the profits. He initially collected $953,000 from the victim, of which he invested $215,000, then “pocketed the rest for his personal use,” according to prosecutors. Later, he told the victim that the investment had grown to more than $2 million and between July 2014 and November 2017, he persuaded the victim to invest $8.74 million to bet on sports.
Gorodetsky used the money for “purposes unrelated to wagering on sports contests, including his conversion of more than $2.2 million to pay living, travel, and entertainment expenses as well as to acquire assets including luxury automobiles and jewelry,” according to his plea agreement.
For the 2016 tax year, Gorodetsky reported an income of $10,520, prosecutors said, when he had received at least $2.5 million from the victim.
Gorodetsky faces more than five years in prison at an April sentencing.