Wesley and Blank Check Ben have found themselves embroiled in a sophisticated scam which saw their dislike of each other used to fleece them of a five-figure sum.
Hustler Casino Live regs Benjamin “Blank Check Ben” Lee and Wesley “Wes Side” Fei found themselves unwittingly paired against each other by a fraudster believed to be Russell Thamer, previously known as Wasil Thamer.
Thamer, a small-stakes online player, used the two players’ disdain for each other to run an elaborate ruse, claiming to Ben he had evidence that would expose wrongdoing by Wesley. But for Ben it would prove to be an expensive scam.
The scammer claimed that Wesley stole $250,000 from him in a cryptocurrency scam and then sent thugs to burgle his home and asked Ben to fund an investigation into his poker rival.
Using fake WhatsApp messages and voice recordings, he managed to persuade Ben that Wesley had flipped the script and paid him $35,000 to reveal Ben as the bad guy.
Ben, incensed at this, sent several payments to Thamer totalling (£30,000) $37,500 when offered information of supposed immigration fraud by Fee.
Ben revealed in a detailed blog post about the scam: “By this time, Russell had managed to drive me to the brink of my sanity.
“It was stressful enough to arrange an immediate cash transaction on the other side of the world, let alone three in the same day. I was forced to ask my friends for favors, and I spent hours scrambling to arrange swaps and trades to get him the cash.
“However, he also managed to get me committed, and much like in poker, it is extremely difficult to withdraw from an ongoing situation when you’re already heavily invested. He played me like a fiddle. I should have known better, but the fact is I didn’t.”
The incredible scam was blown wide open when Ben eventually contacted HCL co-funder Ryan Feldman. A meeting with Wesley revealed that they had both been played by Thamer.
Thamer, the alleged scammer, is supposedly a “working professional from the UK in the financial services industry” according to the elaborate cryptocurrency claims he made about Wesley.
However, he also matches the description of a man by the same name who was arrested in Colombia on drugs charges last year, accused of trying to smuggle a kilo of cocaine out of the country.
Quite how he managed to dodge those charges and emerge a year later to scam Ben and Wesley is unclear, but Ben is “100 certain” it is the same man.
“The person who provided the confirmation met him on 3 occasions and is “100% certain” that he is the man in the photo. In the Daily Mail article, his name was misspelt as “Tamer”, but it is the same person.”
Thamer’s whereabouts are unknown but the poker community is warned to look out for him and possible further scams.
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