Con Artist Gets Taken At High Stakes Poker

In a rare but comforting example of karmic justice, it was reported late this week that a con artist believed to have scammed consumers out of as much as $275 million lost a good chunk of his ill-gotten fortune in high stakes poker games. The man in question is Utah native Jeremy Johnson. The Federal Trade Commission was preparing to investigate Johnson amidst dozens of claims of consumer fraud, and as a result they ordered Johnson to freeze all spending.

Rather than comply, Johnson apparently took to the high stakes poker tables. If he was hoping to win enough money to repay his victims and still be a millionaire, then clearly Johnson sorely over-estimated his poker skills. From spring through winter of 2010, Johnson jet-setted across the country to Las Vegas several times for high stakes games, hitting the Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars tables between trips. Over the course of just six months, Johnson lost more than $1.5 million at Full Tilt alone.

Johnson called his big losses, “a really good cure for…my addiction.” Unfortunately, what he lost wasn’t really his to gamble with. In light of his outrageous spending spree, the FTC has agreed not only to continue freezing Johnson’s assets but those of his companies as well. Johnson first acquired the funds by defrauding consumers through two companies called Elite Debit and I Works. Consumers would sign up for a trial offer only to have their credit and debit cards charged several times over.

By the time the FTC froze Johnson’s accounts last month, they discovered that he had burned through more than $59 million since he was asked to cease spending. That’s some poker binge! Full Tilt Poker’s umbrella corporation, Tiltware LLC, complied with the FTC to confirm that Johnson was playing under the name of ginette22. His PokerStars identity has not yet been released, but we do know he favored both high stakes heads-up action and SNGs with buy-ins of as much as $5000.

SharkScope has revealed some very telling patterns in Johnson’s play. For example, while he started his poker run at the nosebleed games he ended it at the middle stakes, buying into MTTs for as little as $20. It sounds like the guy eventually learned his lesson, but not before blowing “way too much” both online and at Las Vegas poker rooms in the MGM Grand, Bellagio and Wynn.

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