Michigan, Kansas Cases Pending Against Alleged Fraudster at Casinos

Posted on: July 24, 2020, 12:24h. 

Last updated on: July 27, 2020, 02:41h.

A Michigan man was arrested after allegedly defrauding and stealing more than $100,000 from MGM Grand Detroit and other gaming locations. The man allegedly wore disguises and facial coverings to appear as an elderly man to steal the identities of at least 10 players between April and May 2019.

Fraud, theft at casino
John Christopher Colletti wore masks in a scam to appear as an elderly man at MGM Grand Detroit, where he allegedly stole about $100,000. (Image: ClickonDetroit)

The man, John Christopher Colletti, 55, was apprehended 10 months later in Kansas, when on March 12, he was arrested for identity theft by the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribal Police at the Prairie Band Casino and Resort in Mayetta, Kansas.

During the scam, Colletti sported a straw hat and used a walker. He withdrew more than $20,000 from kiosks at the tribal casino.

He is now being held without bond until he is extradited to Michigan to face fraud and identity theft charges, according to the Detroit News. A search by law enforcement officers of a rental car used by Colletti led them to find 83 driver’s licenses, 14 insurance cards, a counterfeit $100 bill, a flash drive with forgery documents, and instructions on how to commit crimes.

In Michigan last year, Colletti allegedly swindled casino players who were signed up for an offering where they could get cash from global payment kiosks located in the MGM Grand casino that were linked to their personal bank accounts, FBI documents said. Colletti then stole the victims’ identity by buying their personal information online and making phony driver’s licenses, the report adds.

On May 23, 2019, during a period of less than a half hour, Colletti acquired some $30,000 in 15 separate withdrawals at the MGM Grand Detroit.

Identity Theft

When withdrawing the money, Colletti used a fake driver’s license for the victims at the casino kiosks. He also keyed in the last four digits of the player’s Social Security number and the last four digits of the player’s telephone number, the report adds.

The kiosks were under the eyes of security surveillance cameras, so Colletti put on masks to protect his identity. They ranged from surgical masks, prosthetic face masks, as well as hats and glasses, the report said.

Later, police found a storage unit in Detroit in Colletti’s name which held 48 fake driver’s licenses, MGM Grand receipts, as well as mannequin heads which were used to display the masks.

This week, a federal criminal complaint and affidavit in the case were released in a Detroit federal court, Fox News reported.

Other Michigan Casino Crimes

Separately, last month David Hoppe, a 57-year-old from East China Township, Michigan, was arrested on illegal gambling charges for a third time.

Authorities allege the man was supplying illegal gambling machines to Spin City, an internet gaming cafe located in Flint. A joint investigation conducted by the Michigan Attorney General and the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) led to the arrest.

Michigan is home to three commercial casinos. Each is in downtown Detroit. There are also nearly two dozen tribal gaming venues in the state.