Using prosthetic masks, US man steals more than $100,000 at casinos
John Christopher Colletti, 55, began his scam in 2019. He allegedly targeted his victims by illegally obtaining their personal information and then using counterfeit driver's licences to withdraw funds from their personal bank accounts via self-service kiosks at the casinos.
A scam artist in the US state of Michigan used prosthetic face masks and other disguises to pose as an elderly gambler and managed to steal more than $100,000 from people at various casinos in Michigan and Kansas, federal authorities said.
Charges against the suspect, identified as John Christopher Colletti, 55, were contained in a 17-page criminal complaint and unsealed affidavit released by a federal court in Detroit, reported The Detroit News. The case was unsealed after Colletti was found and arrested in Kansas.
Begining his scam in 2019, Colletti allegedly targeted his victims by illegally obtaining their personal information and then using counterfeit driver's licences to withdraw funds from their personal bank accounts via self-service kiosks at the casinos, according to the criminal complaint unsealed in federal court in Michigan earlier this week.
The kiosks, operated by Global Payments Gaming Services, are used by the casino industry for bill-breaking, jackpot processing, cash withdrawals, cash advances, and ticket exchanges, among other services, according to the complaint.
The kiosks require users to insert their driver's licence and the last four digits of both their Social Security number and phone number before checking account funds can be withdrawn.
Each victim had previously enrolled to have their bank accounts linked to their profile in Global Payments' "VIP Preferred Program," the complaint said, according to CNN. Colletti faces charges of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and fraud and related activity in connection with access devices, according to the complaint.
Currently in the custody of US Marshals in Kansas, he has a detention hearing set for July 30, according to court documents filed in Kansas.
The probe began when casino security at the MGM Grand Casino identified at least 10 victims of identity theft that lost a total of approximately $98,840 between April 26 and May 27, 2019, according in the complaint.
The suspect was caught on camera wearing a prosthetic mask, blue jacket, dark cap, blue jeans and sunglasses at the MGM Grand on May 23, 2019, where he withdrew $30,000 during 15 different transactions within a 30-minute period.
A receipt also led investigators to a shortage unit that contained 48 falsified driver’s licences, mannequin heads used to prop up prosthetic masks and hundreds of receipts to the MGM Grand casino.