Disbarred Lawyer Funded Gambling with $2.4M Philadelphia Eagles Season Ticket Scam
Posted on: October 7, 2021, 04:17h.
Last updated on: October 8, 2021, 01:33h.
A disbarred New Jersey lawyer pleaded guilty this week to defrauding an investor in a bogus business that purported to offer loans to Philadelphia Eagles fans.
Instead, Frank Tobolsky spent most of a $2.4 million investment on personal expenses and a “crippling” gambling habit.
Prosecutors said Tobolsky, 59, told the sole investor the business would use Eagles fans’ seat licenses as collateral to secure the loans. The victim sent the money to Tobolsky in tranches between 2013 and 2016.
A personal seat license, or PSL, entitles a sports fan the right to purchase season tickets for a specific seat in a stadium. The holder can sell the license to someone else if they no longer want to buy a ticket.
But no loans were ever issued. Some of the money was returned to the victim as purported profits, but Tobolsky spent almost $2 million of the fund, much of it at Atlantic City’s gaming tables.
Theft by Deception
Tobolsky was separately charged in 2018 for theft by deception for the fraudulent sale of an Eagles seat license. The former property lawyer advertised a non-existent license for sale online, afterward depositing the victim’s $9,400 payment into his account at the Golden Nugget.
As a first-time offender, he was permitted to enter a pretrial diversion program, according to Atlantic County court records. This is typically a rehabilitative program that allows a defendant to perform community service instead of going to prison.
Tobolsky was barred from practicing law in November 2017 by the New Jersey Supreme Court for misappropriating $32,500 of a clients’ funds held in escrow. The money had been placed in his care in advance of a property deal. But in March 2013, he siphoned it into his own personal account, which at the time contained just $5.
In his defense on that occasion, Tobolsky told the court he suffered from a compulsive gambling problem. He also claimed anxiety and depression that sometimes caused him to be “literally… out of [his] mind.”
He described this as a “crippling” mental illness, adding the allegations against him were “inextricably linked to [his] diminished capacity, stress, and duress.”
Tobolsky’s History of Gambling Addiction
Tobolsky said he first experienced gambling as a six-year-old when he visited a racetrack with his family. At nine or ten, his father introduced him to football pools. He lost each week, which resulted in “an awful feeling” that he later recognized as depression.
In his high school years, he traveled with his father to racetracks all along the East Coast and even gambled underage in casinos in Puerto Rico. He funded his gambling with money earned on his newspaper route.
In 1984, at 23, Tobolsky began attending Gambling Anonymous meetings and subsequently quit gambling for 22 years.
But the breakup of his marriage in 2006, coupled with fears that he would not be able to pay for his children’s college fees, caused his old demons to resurface.
Now he faces up to 20 years in prison.