Anorak News | Poker Pros Jailed For Vegas Scam

Poker Pros Jailed For Vegas Scam

by | 17th, April 2008

poker-cash.jpgWOULD you steal from a bank? And is a bank a legitimate target, more so than, say, a casino, an orphanage or a blind man’s purse?

This is a hypothetical question and in no way suggests that you are a chancer on the look out for an easy buck.

It’s just that two “poker kings” who stole £150,000 to fund a Vegas spree have been jailed for 18 months.

The Scotsman newspaper reports on Brothers Mohammed Imran, 33, and Mohammed Irfan, professional poker players who stole more than £150,000 from cash machines over three days.

Irfan ranked 19th and Imran 32nd in the 2005 World Series of Poker.

Before this moment of madness, the pros are said to have regularly played against high-rollers, a list of names that includes Microsoft boss Bill Yates and millionaire entrepreneur Kerry Packer, he of the cricket pyjamas.

As for the scam, it was pretty simple. A bank insider at the newly merged Halifax and Bank of Scotland communicated information of a fault in the bank’s autoteller system. Armed with an expired Halifax Bank of Scotland Keycard, the brothers approached an ATM machine and won every time. Who needs Vegas?

As reported, the card being used was traced to a newsagent owned by Shahana Shad, Imran’s sister-in-law – “She admitted being a customer of the bank, but said she had never received the card.”

So much for that. The fall out is that as well as choky, the players have been banned from every casino in the UK and with a criminal record to their names have little to no chance of being granted a visa to play in the United States.

But what of the money, and why was it so desperately needed?

Says a source: “You need serious cash to take on some of these guys in Las Vegas, and an opportunity to get involved in a scam like this was a godsend for Imran and Irfan. The cash could have gone a long way, but, in this case, it was just one very big gamble too far and they lost out big time.”

Is knowingly stealing just another gamble? And if you get away with it, is it the same as winning?

Posted: 17th, April 2008 | In: Broadsheets Comments (3) | TrackBack | Permalink