Michael Borovetz Pleads Guilty in Poker-Funding Michigan Airport Scam Case

Pennsylvania poker player Michael Borovetz has pled guilty in a Michigan courtroom to a single count of theft by false pretenses in connection with a long-running panhandling routine that resulted in Borovetz’s arrest in Detroit in August.

Borovetz’s arrest was in connection with one of an allegedly innumerable series of episodes involving his approaching strangers at airports, claiming hardship, and asking for small loans, which ended up never being repaid. Borovetz then used the borrowed funds to fund his poker travels. Borovetz had been arrested multiple times in various jurisdictions for the same sort of scams, and was again arrested at a suburban Detroit airport after authorities were tipped off that he was scheduled for a stopover at the facility.

Michael Borovetz’s mug shot after his August arrest

As noted previously, Borovetz had been tagged on a single site (Scambook) for having pulled his routine on at least 43 separate instances, and it’s likely that that number represents only a small percentage of the number of times he pulled the wayward traveler routine on unsuspecting fellow travelers. Borovetz has been arrested frequently for the same scam, having been convicted or received a plea deal in 13 separate US states. (Whether or not Michigan represents a 14th state or is a repeat plea deal/conviction hasn’t been clarified.)

In this latest matter, Borovetz actually pled guilty in conjunction with a disposition hearing on October 3rd, roughly five weeks ago, but news of the plea deal emerged just recently. Borevetz had initially been bound over for trial after being unable to post 10 percent, or $10,000, of the $100,000 bond set in the case. Following the plea’s acceptance, he was also referred to probation for a pre-sentencing report.

The case docket shows that Borovetz’s next scheduled court appearance is at 9 am on December 12th, 2019, when he is due to be sentenced. Having already spent many weeks behind bars, and despite the ongoing recidivist nature of his offenses, it’s quite possible he will receive a time-served sentence in accordance with the probation. Whether the victim in the case that resulted in his arrest has been compensated remains unknown. Borovetz himself has blamed untreated gambling addiction for his problems, but whether he has sought treatment for such an addiction remains publicly unknown.

One interesting note from the court docket is that at first, Borovetz refused to enter either a guilty or not-guilty plea. Instead, he stood mute in court, with (presumably) a publicly appointed defense attorney than required by statute to enter a not-guilty plea on his behalf.


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