Sam A. Antar, the nephew of the late “Crazy Eddie” Antar of New York-area electronics store fame, was sentenced to three years in a New Jersey state prison Friday for stealing nearly $800,000 in clients’ money he’d promised to invest and using it instead to feed his massive gambling addiction.
The incarceration of Antar, who was immediately remanded into custody and previously served 21 months in federal prison on a similar conviction, comes as he pursues a civil suit in New Jersey Superior Court against BetMGM and a handful of affiliated plaintiffs, alleging that they preyed on his self-admitted gambling addiction by offering him betting bonuses so he wouldn’t report online casino malfunctions to state regulators.
Antar’s criminal sentencing concluded an active week of litigation in both cases. On Tuesday, BetMGM and the other defendants named in Antar’s suit — among them MGM Resorts, Entain, and Borgata — moved to have it dismissed on multiple grounds, an action that was wholly expected.
As US Bets previously reported, Antar’s civil filing alleges fraud, negligence, breach of contract, violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, and numerous violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations Act (RICO). At the core of his claim is that various BetMGM casino games regularly malfunctioned while he was in the midst of his play, wiping out favorable hands. Antar said he disclosed his gambling addiction to BetMGM representatives during their various interactions, yet they allegedly kept plying him with betting bonuses to earn his silence.
BetMGM ‘a mark’ in ‘rolling Ponzi scheme’
In their Tuesday filing to have Antar’s suit dismissed, BetMGM’s attorneys responded forcefully to his claims, raising his criminal history and also mentioning a separate securities fraud case that the Securities and Exchange Commission has brought against Antar in the Southern District of New York.
“Plaintiff Sam A. Antar is a convicted felon and repeat fraudster who has pled guilty to defrauding numerous individuals out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in false stock investment schemes,” lawyers from the Pennsylvania-based firm Blank Rome LLP wrote in their motion to dismiss. “Now, Antar is orchestrating his latest fraud scheme — this time with BetMGM as his attempted mark. Antar intends to take money from BetMGM based upon his false representations in this lawsuit, to repay himself for the court-ordered restitution he must pay to the victims of his fraud crimes, whose money he has taken to repay other victims in a rolling Ponzi scheme.”
Blank Rome’s filing goes on to refer to the alleged online casino malfunctions as “glitches,” wonders “why Antar continued playing if he was so displeased with the product,” and claims he “ignores a mandatory arbitration provision in the contract that is the centerpiece of his claims against BetMGM.”
Reached the day before his sentencing by US Bets, Antar, whose family is no stranger to penal institutions, countered, “When you commit fraud, there is no such thing as arbitration.” As for BetMGM’s gaming “glitches,” he said he didn’t think that was the right word to use, adding, “They’re still happening today, according to people that have reached out to me since I filed my lawsuit. This is more than a glitch. There’s definitely a flaw in their system.”
In explaining why he kept accepting BetMGM’s betting bonuses, Antar said it was because he has a “severe gambling problem” and that BetMGM did nothing to place him in any kind of problem gaming protocol.
Turning his attention back to the crime — theft by deception — for which he was just sentenced, Antar said, “I did the crime, so it’s part of the recovery. I won’t stop feeling the pain I feel until I pay back everyone I owe money to. I’ve been living in a mental prison. I’m glad this has come to a head.”