Rob Gorodetsky, a high-stakes sports gambler whose alleged ties to pro athletes increased his visibility, has been charged with defrauding an investor of almost $10 million.
Gorodetsky, 27, faces up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud and also has been charged with filing a false tax return, according to court records.
The federal charges were filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago Tuesday and an arraignment and plea hearing have been set for Feb. 5.
On Wednesday, Gorodetsky did not immediately respond to a voicemail and text message.
During one week in 2017, while being shadowed by USA TODAY Sports for a story, Gorodetsky wagered more than $1 million. He also shared a financial statement showing he had wagered $26 million in 2017 and he credited his expertise to “gut instinct.’’
But federal investigators say the money Gorodetsky bet was part of a scheme he devised to defraud an unnamed investor, “Investor A,” of $9.6 million between 2014 and 2018, according to records.
The bulk of the money was used to wager on sports and more than $2 million was used to pay for living, travel and entertainment expenses as well as to acquire assets such as luxury cars and jewelry, according to court documents.
Rob Gorodetsky, shown on Nov. 17, 2017. (Photo: Jason M Ogulnik for USA TODAY)
A college dropout from the Chicago suburbs, Gorodetsky wore a baseball cap with the logo GAMBLR and told USA TODAY Sports he had spent tens of thousands of dollars in nightclubs.
“It’s not just gambling,’’ Gorodetsky said at the time. “It’s a lifestyle."
In 2017, Gorodetsky showed USA TODAY Sports photos with NFL star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and rapper Drake while claiming to have relationships with other celebrities, too. Drake declined to comment and Beckham said he did not know Gorodetsky, who showed USA TODAY Sports a photo of him standing next to Beckham.
Gorodetsky said in 2017 he also had a relationship with Los Angeles Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma, then a rookie with the Los Angeles Lakers who declined to comment on the matter.
Gorodetsky explained how he would handle wagers if he was involved in a point-shaving scheme.
The day after USA TODAY Sports published its story, Gorodetsky said he had been banned from several Las Vegas sports books and casinos and likely faced additional bans. His problems took a far more serious turn with the federal investigation.
In 2017, he allegedly filed a false income tax return claiming his income was $10,520 even though his total income substantial exceeded that amount, according to court documents.
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