A Michigan man was sentenced to four years in prison for stealing $125,740 from 300 VIP gamblers in Michigan and Kansas while disguising himself as an elderly man — and sometimes as a woman.
John Christopher Colletti, 56, wore full prosthetic face masks, hats, goggles, surgical masks and used a walker to transform into a humble elderly person during his crime spree.
When he was found, he had the personal information of 300 victims, as well as several face masks, including one of a woman.
The scammer stole names, driver’s license numbers and the last four digits of people’s social security numbers to gain access to the bank accounts of VIP gamblers who used Global Payments Gaming Services kiosks in various casinos.
John Christopher Colletti, 56, was sentenced to four years in prison for stealing $125,000 from VIP gamblers at casinos in Michigan and Kansas
He was arrested on March 12, 2020 at the Prairie Band Casino and Resort in Mayetta, Kansas
While disguised as an elderly person, Colletti used the stolen personal information at the casino kiosks that offer jackpot processing, e-check, ATM and cash advance services.
On March 12, 2020, he was arrested at the Prairie Band Casino and Resort in Mayetta, Kansas, when multiple large cash withdrawals caught the attention of law enforcement officers.
At the time, he was dressed like an elderly man, wearing a straw hat and glasses, and using a walker while making more than $20,000 in cash withdrawals.
After being questioned by security about the big shots, Colletti immediately went to the restroom where he took off his disguise and “exited the casino with a noticeable bulge on the front of his pants, presumably the prosthetic face mask,” according to FBI reports. .
Investigators found his clothes, walker, $11,000 cash and two Michigan driver’s licenses in the bathroom. The permits belonged to two known victims and had sticky notes with the victims’ social security numbers and phone numbers. The photos on the licenses had been altered to show a person wearing a prosthetic face mask.
FBI agents found driver’s licenses altered with photos of Colletti wearing multiple prosthetic face masks and Social Security sticky notes and phone numbers on the back
When he was arrested, police found more evidence in his car, including multiple prosthetic face masks, 83 driver’s licenses, a black-ribboned straw hat, a counterfeit $100 bill, surgical masks, and “books on how to get away with committing a crime.” ‘ .’
A recovered flash drive contained forged documents, background checks on several people, tutorials on counterfeiting money and Excel spreadsheets with more than 1,000 names, according to reports.
An electronic paper trail and his well-known tactics linked police to his Michigan crimes at Detroit’s MGM Grand Casino. In May 2019, MGM Grand investigators found at least 10 identity theft victims who lost $98,840 at the casino. The incidents were subsequently reported to the Michigan State Police Gaming Section.
MGM casino security cameras captured a disguised Colletti making large cash withdrawals at various kiosks. Each time, Colletti inserted a fake driver’s license for the victim and looked at a piece of paper that authorities said contained the stolen personal information needed to complete the transaction.
Colletti used the modified driver’s licenses and stolen personal information at the casino kiosks to withdraw large amounts of cash
From 2019 to 2020, the scammer collected $125,740 from the bank accounts of 300 VIP gamblers at the Prairie Band Casino and Resort in Kansas and the MGM Grand in Michigan
On May 23, 2019, cameras at the MGM Grand Detroit captured Colletti wearing a prosthetic mask, blue jacket, dark cap, blue jeans and sunglasses while making 15 cash withdrawals for a total of $30,000 in less than half an hour.
Then he took a taxi to the Greektown area. Still disguised, Colletti went to the bathroom of the Pegasus Taverna Restaurant, leaving ten minutes later in a white T-shirt, blue jeans and dark shoes, and a black plastic bag with him.
Colletti was hoping for the minimum sentence handed down under the terms of his plea deal – 24 months – because of his relatively clean background with only one previous conviction in 2007.
Stacey Studnicki, his court-appointed attorney, suggested that mental health treatment would be the best option for her client. She wrote in court documents: “He recently witnessed the dissolution of his marriage and his immediate family also withdrew their support for him.”
His court-appointed attorney tried to send him to a mental health facility to avoid jail time, pointing to his recent divorce and separation from his immediate family
But Thursday, he was ordered to repay the $125,740, along with his four-year federal prison sentence
Prosecutors, however, were impassive, suggesting that the judge sentence Colletti to 51 months, arguing that he had “orchestrated an ingenious, elaborate plan” to steal money from casino visitors “while dressed in Hollywood-esque disguises” and that they didn’t believe he’d stop until he’s caught.
US Assistant US Attorney Ryan Particka has argued that “Colletti has essentially no work history for the past 20 years and is unable to explain how he has made a living, leaving them questioning his pure criminal past.” pulls.
GSPS has accepted the loss on behalf of Colletti’s victims, but he has been ordered to pay back the money he stole in addition to the jail time.