KEY POINTS

  • Robert Gorodetsky moved out to Las Vegas in 2014 and quickly developed a reputation for his big money bets on sport and actively shared his lavish lifestyle on Instagram under the moniker of "Big Rob"
  • He reportedly defrauded a victim, whose name was kept private by courts, of over $10 million from 2014 to 2017 to support his sports betting and lavish lifestyle
  • He is expected to plead guilty to charges of wire fraud and filing a false tax return in Chicago's U.S. District Court

Federal charges were brought against a Chicago man for allegedly scamming a person out of over $10 million who believed their money was going to be “invested wisely,” but was used for sports betting and “lavish” living in Las Vegas.

Robert Gorodetsky, 27, was charged Tuesday with two counts of executing wire fraud and filing a false tax return in Chicago’s U.S. District Court. Gorodetsky is expected to plead guilty, though his lawyer, Chris Gair, did not comment.

Gorodetsky, who went by the moniker “Big Rob” on social media, had developed a reputation as a prominent sports gambler in Las Vegas. His gambling career started in 2011 when he dropped out of the University of Arizona following his freshman year to pursue a career as a professional poker player. He spent three years on the circuit before moving out to Las Vegas when he turned 21 with $90,000 in winnings from playing poker.

Court documents say it was around this time that his fraud scheme started against the victim, whose identity was withheld at their request and is identified in court documents as "Victim A."

Gorodetsky had allegedly received $953,000 from Victim A over a four-month period starting in February 2014. The money was given “for the purported purpose of investing in the stock market.” However, $737,000 reportedly went to Gorodestky’s personal use.

He then reached out to Victim A again in July 2014, saying his original investment had risen to $2 million and from successful trades. It was at this time he told Victim A sports betting could offer “greater returns.”

This continued for three years as Gorodetsky reportedly misled Victim A about the use of their money and state of their account. He would also ask for more money that was then used to place big money wagers or to support Gorodetsky’s lavish lifestyle.

During this time, Gorodetsky developed a reputation in Las Vegas that led to a profile in December 2017 by USA Today. He revealed he would bet around $350,000 on NFL Sundays, over $100,000 on MLB games, and tens of thousands of dollars on various other sports at the professional and collegiate level.

He didn’t hide his lack of sports knowledge either and said most of his bets were made on “gut instincts.”

“I would take my knowledge and my gut instinct and bet the best numbers,” he said. “I just kept pounding them. The casinos started lowering my limits because the house has no idea who’s going to win in summer league. They don’t know anybody who’s playing.”

The buildup to legalized sports gambling had him and his confidants believing Gorodetsky could become the most prominent sports gambler in the U.S.

“When it goes legal, we’re going to be billionaires,” said Gorodetsky’s confidant Elo Hankham. “We’re the No. 1 entity, and we’re going to have a market share of at least 5% of a $150 billion industry.”

He also wasn’t shy about the lifestyle he lived. Gorodetsky actively posted on Instagram pictures of himself at his lavish Vegas home, hanging out with random celebrities, sitting front row at professional sports events, or flanked by women along with his friends in scenes USA Today compared to HBO’s hit series, “Entourage.”

However, several prominent Las Vegas gamblers were skeptical about Gorodetsky.

“I tip my hat to Rob because at least he puts his money where his mouth is,” handicapper and former professional gambler Dave Oancea, aka “Vegas Dave,” told USA Today. “But the truth is, when I used to do that, I was down millions.”

He continued: “I know for a fact Rob is losing his ass. If someone is born into $10 million, anybody can purchase $200,000 tickets. It doesn’t mean you’re good. If you have money or you’re laundering money or you’re a drug dealer or your parents gave you $1 billion, that doesn’t mean you’re a good or bad handicapper. That just means you have access to funds.”

Westgate Sportsbook Guests attend a viewing party for the NCAA Men's College Basketball Tournament inside the 25,000-square-foot Race & Sports SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino which features 4,488-square-feet of HD video screens on March 15, 2018 in Las Vegas. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images