Celebrity Tout Adam Meyer Arrested in Connection with $25 Million Fraud, Extortion Scheme
Celebrity tout Adam H. Meyer, a frequent guest on US-based TV and radio sports handicapping shows who bills himself as “the sports consultant to the stars,” has been arrested and charged in connection with a scheme allegedly perpetrated against a Wisconsin bettor in which Meyer used fraud and threats of force to bilk the man — a Meyer client — out of approximately $25 million.
Meyer, 38, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, faces six felony charges in connection with the scheme, which were filed on December 2nd in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
The six charges filed against Meyer to date include three counts of wire fraud and one count each of extortion, interstate travel in aid of a racketeering enterprise, and brandishing a firearm in connection with the commission of other crimes (specifically the extortion charge). Meyer faces a sentence of up to 20 years each of the five wire fraud, extortion and interstate travel charges, and a possible sentence of seven years to life on the firearm brandishing charge.
Each of the six felony charges also carries a maximum $250,000 fine.
Prosecutors allege that more than $25 million was extorted or taken via fraud from the crime’s primary victim, referred to in the indictment as “Victim A,” over more than four years, from January of 2009 through February of 2013. Victim A, a wealthy sports bettor living in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, about an hour north of Milwaukee, originally began purchasing betting advice from Meyer’s tout services back in 2007. In 2008, the unnamed victim agreed to wire $1.2 million to Meyer to help Meyer cover unspecified sports losses, which the victim learned only lately was actually money seized local (Florida) law enforcement authorities.
Given that Meyer was involved in several other questionable operations, including the high-profile “Ponzi scheme” business of University of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro (Meyer invested at least $675,000 in Shapiro’s business, while Shapiro himself spent at least $5 million backing Meyer’s touts), the indictment’s details imply that Meyer and his associates targeted the unnamed Wisconsin victim as a mark to financially support them through some of the other legal troubles that were unfolding. In late 2008 the victim attempted to reduce his gambling exposure to Meyer’s operation, which led to the following sequence of events, as described in the indictment:
7. After Victim A reduced his gambling activity, Meyer falsely told Victim A that Meyer’s life was being threatened by a bookie to whom Meyer owed a large gambling debt. Meyer also falsely told Victim A that the bookie believed that Meyer and Victim A were gambling partners and that the bookie was holding Victim A equally responsible for the debt.
8. Meyer falsely told Victim A that a person named “Kent Wong” was attempting to collect the gambling debt. “Kent Wong” was actually an alter ego created by Meyer.
9. From approximately July 2009 through December 2011, Meyer, sometimes falsely identifying himself as “Kent Wong,” frequently called Victim A to obtain payments toward the gambling debt. While adopting the “Wong” persona, Meyer threatened that Victim A’s family would be harmed if Victim A did not make payments toward the debt.
10. In response to the threats, Victim A wired and otherwise transferred millions of dollars into accounts as directed by Meyer. Meyer, in turn, used the funds for his own purposes.
11. In or about early 2012, Victim A refused to send Meyer further funds. Meyer subsequently contacted Victim A and arranged a meeting under the false pretense that Meyer was going to repay a portion of the money that he had previously received from Victim A.
12. On or about April 16, 2012, Meyer and one of his associates flew from Florida to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, for the meeting. During the meeting, Meyer’s associate brandished a firearm and demanded that Victim A send Meyer more money to pay off a purported gambling debt. In response to that threat, Victim A agreed to provide $9.8 million to Meyer.
13. At Meyer’s direction, between April 16, 2012, and April 24, 2012, Victim A wired a total of $9.8 million into accounts controlled by Meyer and Meyer’s agents.
14. Between January 2009 and February 2013, through the threats and false pretenses set forth above, Meyer and his agents obtained more than $25 million from Victim A.
Again, any relationship between the start of the alleged extortion of the Wisconsin victim and Meyer’s own financial problems regarding the Shapiro/U. of Miami mess have yet to be confirmed. Yet Meyer was stated to have invested $675,000 in Shapiro’s front business and was blocked from legally seeking a refund of that when Shapiro claimed bankruptcy. Meyer also later sent $900,000 to attorneys in the Shapiro matter to resolve possible “long arm” claims in that case.
For Meyer, who maintains an active profile on his RealMoneySports.com and AdamWins.com websites, the latest episode isn’t his first scrape with the law. Meyer was convicted of “threatening communication” in attempting to collect a gambling debt way back in 1996, and has been in repeated legal scrapes ever since, including a six-figure casino marker which went unpaid for years and an unprosecuted arrest for domestic violence.
Nonetheless, Meyer has dodged his checkered past enough to land high-profile gigs in media outlets as wide-ranging as CNBC to E! and from USA Today to Cigar Aficianado. How these and other major media outlets react to the latest developments in Meyer’s life remains to be seen/