Woman Charged in Antonio Esfandiari Robbery, Police Allege $1M Theft

Posted on: September 2, 2020, 10:10h. 

Last updated on: September 2, 2020, 02:56h.

Poker giant Antonio Esfandiari says he was the victim of a more than $1 million theft in July. Las Vegas police say they have a suspect in custody — and it’s a woman he knows quite well.

Antonio Esfandiari Las Vegas crime poker
An arrest has been made in the $1 million burglary of Antonio Esfandiari’s Las Vegas high-rise. (Image: LVMPD/Casino.org)

Las Vegas Metro Police say Svitlana Silva, 46, has been arrested and charged with stealing $150,000 in cash, up to $500,000 in poker chips, and $400,000 in jewelry. The latter items include a $350,000 platinum diamond bracelet, $35,000 Hublot Aerofusion watch, $6,000 Cartier watch, $2,000 Gucci watch, and $7,000 Patek Philippe watch.

Silva lived in the Esfandiari’s condo for several months condo and had access to several security codes and safes, because of her previous relationship with Antonio Esfandiari’s father, Bejan. Silva told police she had moved out of the condo in March of this year.

Antonio and Bejan reported the theft in July and told law enforcement that Silva was the only person who had access to their condominium, located at the Panorama Towers just west of the Strip behind Aria.

Metro arrested Silvia last month in the Aria parking garage after police were tipped off that she had used the stolen poker chips at two poker games. After being booked at the Clark County Detention Center on charges of residential burglary and possession of stolen property valued at more than $100,000, Silva bailed out of jail.

Silvia is due in Las Vegas Justice Court in October.

It is very common for high stake poker pros to keep high-value chips in their home. Casinos track the high-value chips via serial numbers, which has resulted in the arrests of many criminals.

High-Stakes Case

Antonio Esfandiari is one of the most successful poker players in the history of the game. According to The Hendon Mob, the online live poker database, he ranks No. 15 on the global all-time money list.

Esfandiari’s career live earnings total $27.8 million. His best cash came in 2012 when he won the $1 Million WSOP Big One for One Drop. His first-place finish won him $18.34 million. Dating back to 2002, Esfandiari has three results of winning at least seven digits.

Born in the Iran capital of Tehran, today Esfandiari calls Las Vegas his home. He and his father say Silva knew of his iPhone passcodes, which were similar to the safe’s password. Police allege in their complaint that Esfandiari called them after learning through secondhand information that Silvia was at a private poker tournament in Las Vegas using the stolen chips. The host kept a log of each player’s buy-in.

Silva started with $5,000 and signed the paper,” the police report states. “Silva lost and pulled out an additional $20,000 to play another round. She continues playing two more times, playing with the amounts of $30,000 each, and loses. Every time she signed documenting the amount she buys in with.”

Police say after losing, she returned later with $100,000 in Aria chips, and after losing that, put down $200,000 in Bellagio chips. After finally winning, she asked to cash out.

During her arrest, police say in her possession were numerous $25K Bellagio and Aria poker chips and a large amount of cash.

Silvia Backstory

The Hendon Mob has no live cash tournament results for the 46-year-old, who now faces burglary charges.

According to LinkedIn and Facebook accounts that appear to belong to Silvia, she was born in Ukraine and has held various jobs in the gaming industry. They include stints at Gila River Casinos in Arizona, and at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas.