John Christopher Colletti Harper Woods, Michigan man used prosthetic face masks posing as elderly gambler to defraud victims & rob casinos.
John Christopher Colletti, 55, of Harper Woods was arrested at the Prairie Band Casino and Resort in Mayetta, Kanas, by Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribal Police on March 12.
Charges against the alleged scam artist were contained in a 17-page criminal complaint and unsealed affidavit released by a federal court in Detroit on Thursday, The Detroit News reports.
Casino surveillance allegedly showed Colletti dressed as an elderly white man wearing a straw hat, glasses and using a mobility walker as he made more than $20,000 in cash withdrawals from casino kiosks.
Beginning in May 2019, Colletti developed a scheme of purchasing people’s identities online and creating false driver’s licenses, which he used to defraud his victims. FBI Special Agent Julia MacBeth said.
Disguising himself as his victims & defrauding them
Colletti used the false identities of casino customers who were a part of a VIP program that allows cash advances from kiosks located inside the casinos to defraud victims in the scheme.
As a result of kiosks being located under camera surveillance, Colletti hatched his plan to forge/steal his victim’s identity and effectively disguise himself as the person in the VIP system.
The suspect was able to steal $98,840 from patrons of the MGM Grand Detroit, from April to May 2019, while wearing a full prosthetic mask, glasses, surgical masks and hats, MacBeth reportedly detailed in the affidavit.
The suspect was caught on camera wearing a prosthetic mask, blue jacket, dark cap, blue jeans and sunglasses at the MGM Grand on May 23, 2019, where he withdrew $30,000 during 15 different transactions within a 30-minute period.
Feds made shocking discovery at storage unit
Investigators reviewed camera footage from the casinos and found that Colletti used counterfeit driver’s licenses each time he withdraws casino.
‘Then Colletti would look at a piece of paper, likely containing the victims last four digits of the patron’s Social Security Number and the last four digits of the patron’s telephone number, which were needed to complete the transactions,’ MacBeth said in the affidavit.
At the time of Colletti’s arrest, a receipt also led investigators to a storage unit that contained 48 falsified driver’s licenses, mannequin heads used to prop up prosthetic masks and hundreds of receipts to the MGM Grand casino.
The suspect remains held in Michigan without bond.