Florida Poker Pro Denies Wrongdoing In Alleged Sports Betting Scam

Written By Steve Schult on June 8, 2022 - Last Updated on June 10, 2022
Florida sports betting scam

The Florida poker pro that was indicted and arrested last month for an alleged sports betting scam denied any wrongdoing.

Boca Raton resident Cory Zeidman entered a not guilty plea at a federal courthouse in Miami on Tuesday. The feds are charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of mail fraud and a money laundering charge.

After entering his plea, he waived his right to a speedy trial. He will be in court again on June 24 for a pre-trial conference.

Zeidman allegedly swindled victims out of a combined $25 million after posing as a sports betting tout with inside information.

Zeidman quotes Nietzsche in statement

Along with the not guilty plea, the poker pro issued a statement where he was adamant about his innocence.

“In the words of (German philosopher Friedrich) Nietzsche, ‘Everything the state says is a lie and everything it has it has stolen.’ They took all my money and they seem upset that I won’t plead to things I haven’t done. I’ve been advised by my counsel to not get into details, but I anxiously await my day in court. I have worked in the sports handicapping industry for the past 40 years starting with ‘professor picks.’ Trade secret – he wasn’t a real professor. I want to thank the outpouring of positive words in support from my close friends and family who know me best as an individual with the highest level of morals and integrity.”

In the initial Department of Justice press release, there was no mention of the seizing of Zeidman’s funds. However, Zeidman’s statement seems to indicate that the government already confiscated some portion of his net worth.

Feds allege Zeidman lied to bettors about information regarding games

In the 13-page indictment filed on May 17, the government alleges that Zeidman headed a group called the “Phoenix Organization.” The organization bought advertising space on radio stations nationwide to convince sports bettors to contact their group.

These advertisements claimed that it was a ‘sophisticated white-collar approach to gathering sports information’ and claimed that it was more akin to investing instead of gambling.

Once bettors contacted the group, Zeidman and his co-conspirators would claim they had inside information about a sporting event. They would then charge the bettor for the information.

But the feds allege that the information handed out was completely false. Or that bettors could obtain the same information from a basic internet search.

The government claims that the group ran the scheme from January 2004 until March 2020. It ran its operations out of both Florida and New York.

Zeidman claimed to be a professional poker player

During the same time that he was allegedly running the scam, the now 61-year-old was playing high-stakes poker tournaments.

After cashing a handful of times before 2004, Zeidman’s tournament results took a sharp upswing. He cashed for a total of $691,141 after he allegedly began the scam. Those results include a WSOP bracelet victory in the 2012 $1,500 seven-card stud hi-lo event for $201,559.

Photo by Shutterstock / Matt Benoit
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Steve Schult

As Managing Editor of PlayFL, Steve will stay on top of all things related to the Florida gaming industry. He is also a veteran of the gambling world. The native New Yorker started covering high-stakes tournaments in 2009 for some of poker's most prominent media outlets before adding the broader U.S. gaming market to his beat in 2018.

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