Svitlana Silva stole from Antonio Esfandiari and his father
Antonio ‘The Magician’ Esfandiari has been robbed of $1million of cash, casino chips, and jewelry. The woman arrested for the theft also allegedly made off with his $350,000 platinum and diamond Big One for One Drop bracelet.
Svitlana Silva was arrested after playing with almost $100k in cash and $300k of chips in a high stakes private poker game in Vegas.
The incredible story emerged this week as 46-year old Arizona-based poker dealer Svitlana Silva was arrested on suspicion of theft and burglary from the Panorama Towers apartment Esfandiari shares with his father Bejan.
Among the stolen items were $150,000 cash, $300,000 to $500,000 in Bellagio and Aria poker chips, in addition to the 2012 WSOP Big One for One Drop bracelet (pictured below on father Bejan’s wrist).
Also missing were a $35,000 Hublot Aerofusion watch, a $6,000 Cartier watch, a $7,000 Patek Philippe watch, a $2,000 Gucci silver watch, and a gold suitcase.
A police report on the $1million theft explains that “Silva lived with Bejan off and on for several months,” and “had been left alone in the condo on several occasions.”
The Esfandiari’s called the police on July 14th when they returned to find a safe had been raided. Silva, it is claimed, knew the codes to Bejan’s iPad and phone, which were very similar to the safe code.
Esfandiari this week told Pokernews: “The string of emotions that jolted through my veins were filled with anger and pain. Realizing that my One Drop WSOP was no longer mine, a dagger to my heart.”
That bracelet marked the biggest win of his career, a monster $18,346,673 victory during the 2012 WSOP, defeating England’s Sam Trickett heads-up for the title. Esfandiari is pictured below with his father, brother, and supporters after the win.
Chief suspect arrested
Esfandiari explained: “But worse than all that was knowing that somebody stole from my dad. He’s the most special human on Earth and it killed me that someone would do something so selfish to him.
“That was the real pain,” said the 41-year old Iranian-born pro, known as ‘The Magician’ for his former career as a stage magician. He added: “The universe has a funny way with karma and what goes around always finds a way to come around.”
The chief suspect in the theft, Svitlana Silva, was arrested after Antonio tipped off police that she had been frequenting the biggest games in town.
A Bellagio gaming manager is reported to have told police that Silva had been seen on or around August 11th playing poker with “big amounts of cash.”
Also, she had been participating in a private game – location undisclosed as yet – where her buy-ins were noted by the host.
The police report states: “Silva started with $5,000…lost and pulled out an additional $20,000 …continues playing two more times, playing with the amounts of $30,000 each and loses. Every time she signed documenting the amount she buys in with.”
What happened next adds to the bizarreness of the tale, Silva apparently being driven to a Las Vegas apartment and returning with a ‘small black hand-held safe.’
From this safe, she “pulled out $100,000 in Aria (resort) chips,” which she lost and then“pulled out an additional $200,000 in Bellagio chips.”
After finally winning an unknown sum and cashing out, she then had to contact a fellow player in the high stakes game, one who had already left with some of her lost Aria chips.
She is alleged to have texted the unnamed player, stating: “Hey forgot to tell you my chips has a special mark on the computer so if it’s (sic) stolen they can’t cash out.”
The police report then details: “She goes (on) to say this person will have a problem cashing out.”
As we reported last month, Daniel Negreanu tweeted out a plea for help in recovering Aria chips stolen from a friend, the dates tying in with the Esfandiari theft and the problem in cashing them quickly pointed out…
Lol. People are so dumb. Those chips have rfid’s in them. And they’re gonna ask for ID and everything when you go to cash them. No point in stealing chips. Hope they catch this idiot
— MikeSiegrist (@MikeSiegrist1) July 14, 2020
When police eventually tracked Silva to an Aria parking garage, she was found to have large amounts of cash as well as $25k Aria and Bellagio chips in her handbag.
She told police there were more of the chips in her car. Even though she later claimed under police caution that she had “walked in on a random guy in their condo” when questioned about the theft from the safe.
Silva’s ex-husband was also questioned. He told the police that Svitlana had told him that she had taken “her” cash and chips from the Esfandiari family safe.
Silva, who appears on LinkedIn as a texas holdem poker dealer at Gila River Indian Community in Arizona, has been charged with ‘residential burglary’ and ‘possession of stolen property valued at $100,000 or more’.
She has been released on bail and is scheduled to appear in Las Vegas Justice Court in October.
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