|Robert W.Robb, a self-described gambler, has pleaded guilty to charges of defrauding investors in Silicon Valley and Seattle to the tune of $4 million. Robb had claimed that top Las Vegas casinos, Microsoft Corp and magician David Copperfield backed his online gaming company.|
24 year-old Robb, of Orem, Utah, entered guilty pleas to two counts of wire fraud Monday July 8 before US District Judge James Ware in San Jose. Sentencing is scheduled for October 28, and under the terms of a plea bargain, he is expected to receive a 27-month prison term, prosecutors said.
Robb, founder and CEO of Junglegames.com, admitted to defrauding investors by falsely stating that Mirage Resorts, MGM and Bellagio would be using his prototype gambling machines. He claimed that his backers included Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Mirage tycoon Steve Wynn and Copperfield.
However, Robb used investors’ money for gambling in Las Vegas and buying new Lexus cars, according to an affidavit by FBI Special Agent Stacey Mitry.
Robb admitted to investor Edward Zanelli of San Mateo that he had lost more than $1 million in investments from the Zanelli family while playing blackjack at $15,000 a hand, authorities said.
When investors became reluctant to invest more money, Robb allegedly turned to death threats. In December 2000 and again in January 2001, Robb reportedly said he would kill Seattle investor James Wilson and his associates if they didn't pay him more money.
When investor Brian Kandel, a Santa Cruz attorney, refused to lend Robb an additional $250,000 on top of his $70,000 investment, Robb warned him in an email that he had become involved with a Japanese company with ties to organized crime, and that defying the Japanese partner would be a 'very good way to get killed,' the indictment said.