PokerTribe.com Scam Update: Fraudster Khalilian Moves Ops to Monster
Welcome back to the ongoing tale of the PokerTribes.com / PokerTribe.com scam centered on serial fraudster Fereidoun “Fred” Khalilian. Khalilian and his Florida-based Universal Entertainment Group, which has peddled the upcoming launch of a real-money online poker site operated by an Oklahoma tribal nation for, well, several years now.
In the latest development, a puff piece appearing at Digital Trends has attempted to humanize and legitimize Khalilian and his scammy history without really digging into the truth, He’s sold two different Oklahoma tribes a gigantic bill of goods, pocketing at least $20 million to date while promising them untold riches in offering online poker and other gambling forms to an outside-the-US audience, despite the fact that there’s no demand whatsoever by Euro gamblers (who have hundreds of options to choose from) to put their money on a sketchy US-based site.
You won’t read about that in the Digital Trends piece, however. Instead, it’s about Khalilian being brought on as the COO of Monster Cable, which makes all sorts of headphones and related tech gear but appears to be cash-short at the moment, owing to the loss of major deals with the likes of Apple and Beats; yes, this was the manufacturer of those awful Beats by Dr. Dre headphones.
Anyhow, Monster CEO Noel Lee inked a deal in October with Khalilian and his partner, Joe Moscato. Monster, it turns out, was the “major brand name” that Khalilian alluded to in his public comments when the Iowa Tribe received its license from IOM regulators.
But whatever. It’s true that the Iowa Tribe has received approval from the IOM (under the name of its corporate entity there, Ioway Internet Gaming Enterprise Limited), but there’s no indication that Khalilian or his prior firm (Universal Entertainment Group) or his new one (Monster Cable) have received similar approval.
Here’s how Digital Trends’ puff-piece writer, Jeremy Kaplan, skirted having to ask some tough questions:
“… [Khalilian]’s started at Isle of Man, the same people currently empowering PokerStars.net. PokerTribe doesn’t yet appear on the country’s list of operating gambling servers. But Dave Corteen, Senior Inspector with the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission, told Digital Trends what it takes to get a license.
“In order to be listed on our website, an applicant needs to have been granted approval for a license and to have paid the related license fee, for which they have 90 days following approval,” he said. Khalilian insists the Isle of Man has granted that license, though he did not show it to us directly. …”
The IOM has granted the Iowa Tribe a license; it has not granted Khalilian nor any of his business fronts a license, and that’s why this scammer couldn’t show it to Kaplan.
Khalilian has repeatedly tried to bury his own felonious past, and that appears to be part of the move away from the hapless UEG name and onto a seemingly more presentable brand at Monster. It shouldn’t matter: There’s no way Khalilian could pass any sort of “key employee” filter from any reputable regulator. More, he’s the type of career scammer that has to be kept out of online gambling, at virtually any cost.
(P.S.: As to that faked and fraudulent gaming info in the caption at right, it’s still visible on the web at this address: https://www.pokertribe.com/iowatribefreeplay. Upper left. Also note the addition at bottom right of this and other pages that the site is now “Powered by Monster,” an indication that UEG as a corporate entity has been sold to Lee’s company. These pages have been de-linked from PokerTribe.com’s landing page but are active and readily accessible via Google.)
One can find details of both of Khalilian’s run-ins with the FTC on plenty of other online sites, but the Digital Trends piece is more important in that it provides a bit more info into that previous Khalilian scam, the “PokerTribes.com” effort with the Cheyenne and Arapahos.
Check this excerpt from Digital Trends:
“A lot of money was paid and nothing was ever received,” Reggie Wassana, speaker of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal legislature, told The Oklahoman in May. “Nothing became of it. It was $9.4 million for a website basically — there was no realization of profits and no actual working internet gaming.” In late September, the two tribes finally filed a lawsuit, claiming “the transactions were marked by deceit, greed and utter disregard for the laws and economic well-being of the tribes.”
A month earlier, Khalilian told us a different story.
“They didn’t want their $9.4 million back. They just wanted us to leave. They never sued us, they never came after us – all he wanted to do was humiliate us in the media and kick us out,” he said.
Which, of course, explains why the Cheyenne and Arapahos then filed suit for the $9.4 million. Nope, they didn’t want their $9.4 million back. Much.
Speaking of that $9.4 million, the Cheyenne and Arapahos got diddly for their expenditure, just a crappy little website featuring ’90s-era graphics and not much else. In one of our previous Khalilian reports, we also noted how he had manged to make good on a $4.2 million fine still owed to the FTC soon after he signed the PokerTribes.com deal. We offered it as conjecture; lo and behold, here’s Digital Trends with the confirmation:
“Sources at the FTC pointed out to Digital Trends that he used the money last year to repay his $4.2 million telemarketing fine.”
How that isn’t fraud / illegal conversion / unjust enrichment on its own is beyond this writer. But I am a writer, not a lawyer, and this is the Cheyenne and Arapahos’ case to pursue.
Remember, in all this PokerTribes.com / PokerTribe.com malarkey, it’s not the future online poker players who are the marks of the scam. The tribes themselves are the target, and at least in the Iowas’ case, they’re likely going to funnel in several more million dollars before they realize that they’re chasing fool’s gold and that the promised end audience is imaginary. It doesn’t matter if Khalilian has identified some sort of legal loophole, which is apparently his specialty. There’s still no market here.
One thing the Digital Trends piece does accomplish as a form of public service is rehash some of Khalilian’s long history of misdeeds, including allegations of rape and assault. Khalilian even had a bit of exposure on TMZ, back in the day. Here’s a lovely little insight into his character. Per TMZ, back in 2007: “The entrepreneur was not arrested at the scene, after he claimed he had diplomatic immunity. ‘I’m a diplomat. You can’t arrest me. I own Club Paris,’ the police report states.”
Quality. Online gambling needs this guy like it needs a hole in the head. C’mon, IOM, do your job and deep-six this operation.
(The opinions offered here are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers or owners of Flushdraw.net.)