Man Uses Prosthetic Mask To Rob Casino of $100k

By Ben Hamill - July 28 2020
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Man Uses Prosthetic Mask To Rob Casino of 100k

The 55-year-old man accused of having donned prosthetic face masks in order to disguise himself as an old man and rob VIP casino customers out of more than $100,000, has been arrested and is currently being detained in Kansas. The man since identified as John Christopher Colletti will remain in custody until he can be brought to Michigan to face federal charges. He is being detained without the possibility of a bond.

According to a report compiled by FBI Special Agent Julia MacBeth, Colletti’s elaborate criminal scheme involved stealing the identities of his victims by first purchasing their information from a rogue online site, and then creating falsified driver’s licenses using the acquired info.

In addition to the prosthetic face masks, Colletti allegedly also used several other disguises in an attempt to conceal his true identity. These included surgical masks, hats, and glasses. Since Colletti’s target audience had been high-rolling VIP customers, Colletti needed his disguises to avoid being identified from CCTV footage captured inside casino kiosks.

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A Scheme Of VIP Proportions

Colletti’s rampage spanned April and May 2019, during which he stole an estimated $98,840 from at least 10 unsuspecting victims at the MGM Grand Detroit casino.

CCTV footage clearly shows the conman entering through the Grand’s doors on May 23 last year while donning a prosthetic face covering. He can then be seen making at least 15 cash withdrawals before heading back out and taking a cab to Greektown-based Pegasus Tavern. After he enters into the tavern’s restroom, he can be seen emerging without his disguise about 10 minutes later.

His modus operandi involved using the falsified driver’s licenses to withdraw money from the mentioned VIP kiosks. The patrons targeted were all part of a VIP player-program that allows players to access credit (in the form of cash being advanced) by drawing the money from special kiosks located on casino floors.

He Mistakenly Left His Hat On

What ultimately helped lead to his arrest on March 12 this year, had been a lack of originality on his part. Members of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribal Police arrested Colletti for identity theft at the Prairie Band Casino in Kansas after investigators noticed certain similarities between the incidents that had taken place earlier on at the MGM Grand and the conman’s movements in Kansas.

Dressed as an elderly man relying on a walker, Colletti was spotted withdrawing more than $20,000 from the kiosks at Prairie Brand Casino. Having noticed this, security officers proceeded to question Colletti about his reasons for withdrawing so much money in cold hard cash. Unable to provide a reasonable explanation, he then fled into the casino’s restroom, where he proceeded to take off his disguise before leaving the building.

Authorities later found $11,000 in cash, as well as the walker and the rest of his disguise alongside some Michigan driver’s licenses in the casino’s restroom.

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