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Sneaky Scammer Intercepts Deal between Two High Stakes Poker Pros, Gets Away with $20K

Tags: cryptocurrencies, Grazvydas, James Romero, poker fraud, poker scam.
Posted on 23 September 2020 by "T".

An elaborate scheme by a sneaky scammer costed two unsuspecting poker players a total of $20,000 online. Users going by the names Grazvydas and James Romero became victims of the classic scam "man in the middle".

A normal scenario in the online world that ended very badly

Two high stakes poker players recently became victims of a scam, and last week it was made known on the poker forum Two Plus Two, when user Grazvydas asked the community if he's responsible for this unfortunate incident.

He and James Romero became unlikely victims of a scam that costed Grazvydas $20,000 from his Americas Cardroom account. Both of them initially said that they are interested in exchanging account money for Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.

In a group named "Crypto/Fiat Highstakes Exchange" on Skype, Grazvydas announced he wanted to exchange some $20,000 from his Americas Cardroom and/or PokerStars account money for Natural8 currency. James Romero, who was also in the same Skype chat group, shared his intention of exchanging some $5,000 or more from his $60,000 Luxon e-wallet to Bitcoin currency.

As he (let's just assume the scammer is male but we could be wrong) saw the messages in the Skype group by these two users, the crafty scammer saw the chance to dupe the two and benefit from them. To do so, he created fake profiles of both Grazvydas and James Romero. To make things look more legit, he created almost similar clone Skype accounts of the two.

The Oldie but Goodie "Man in the Middle" Scheme

Grazvydas agreed to transfer $20,000 of his own Americas Cardroom money to James Romero, in exchange for $20,000 worth of Bitcoin. While this deal appears like a fair trade, what the two didn't know was that they were actually both talking and transacting with the scammer.

As he conversed with Romero, the scammer acquired his real poker account where the money should be sent by Grazvydas. After that, Grazvydas transferred $20,000 to the real Americas Cardroom account that Romero owned.

When Romero saw the money come in, he then transferred his $20,000 in Bitcoin to the scammer's account, which he thought was owned by Grazvydas.

Simply put, the two players just wanted to trade an equal sum of money with each other online - Bitcoin for poker funds. While one of them really received the money, the other unfortunately sent the funds to the scammer. It's called the "man in the middle" scam, and the scammer successfully pulled it off.

When he realized he had been duped, Grazvydas aired his thoughts on the Two Plus Two forum about the scheme. Members had differing opinions as to which player was at fault. However, we can all say that both players were a victim of the scammer's devious scheme. In the end, Grazvydas said they decided to put things to rest with Grazvydas receiving $10,000 from James Romero as a way to "split the losses".

Grazvydas' experience in detail

Here's what he posted on the forum:

"This is Grazvydas (Grazvis1) - long time HS online player.

Summary of what have happened:

I posted that I am looking for 20k trade in one of the Skype's trading chats, impersonator of a high volume trader James Romero messaged me that he is interested into trade, I asked for a HV, and I send first under guidance of impersonator.

But the person on the receiving end of me sending 20k on ACR, was real James Romero account, and the impersonator got real James Romero to ask for a legit HV in a trading chat "Thai 20k HV @James Romero with Grazvydas". (James send 20k BTC to impersonator upon receiving funds on ACR).

The reason of this post, is to clarify why I am responsible 100% of liability here, because that's what James Romero claimed, and that's what people participating in the trading chat seemed to agree.

And I don't think the way James Romero communicated after the fact was just. I would like people to judge this too.

My last communication with James Romero was:

I was questioning what have happened in the Trading chat for 4 hours yes, because I was confused about what exactly have happened, as a HV for James Romero was a legit HV, which real James Romero asked. There was never an arbitrary decision, or anything like that, the few people that communicated in the Trading chat did seemed to take James' side.

James' message "and then you deleted a bunch of content from the conversation" is a 100% lie, I did not deleted 1 message from any conversation, I immediately posted a screen shot of that James' message in the trading chat to call him out.

I think it's only fair if people are informed of this, as this does show the person's character, and he is a high volume trader.

And to judge the way impersonator of James managed to scam here, and if it's me who is 100% responsible here, or there's a part of responsibility on James' side too:

Sequence of events:

1) I posted in a trading chat on Skype called "Crypto/Fiat Highstakes Exchange" that I am looking for a trade.

2) James Romero posted in the same trading chat that he is looking for a trade.

3) A fake James (fJames) and a fake Grazvydas (fGrazvydas) create almost identical clone Skype accounts and message the real ones (rJames and rGrazvydas)

4)fJames and fGrazvydas makes a plan for a trade with rJames and rGrazvydas, where if rJames gets a HV rGrazvydas will send $20k on ACR in return for $20k BTC/NAT8. (fGrazvydas asked 20k BTC for ACR from rJames, fJames promised 20k NAT8 for rGrazvydas' ACR)

5)rJames asks a friend for a HV, friend post HV, upon seeing so rGrazvydas send $20k to rJames.

6)Upon receiving $20k on ACR rJames sends $20k BTC to fGrazvydas.

7)rGrazvydas doesn't get $20k Nat8 and looks into it in more indepth and contacts rJames.

Conversations from trading chat:

Conversation with rJames:

A few points to clarify:

*I messaged ACR support to report theft by impersonation, because at that point I thought that the ACR account I send to was the impersonator/scammer. After realizing the way the scam happened, I thought ACR doesn't need to be involved anymore, and I messaged them back asking to unfreeze rJames account and free the funds to him, which has been done by now.

*In the Skype's trading chat, my initial conversation was trying to get a grasp of what have happened exactly, and me apologizing there is more of an acknowledgement that I understood the way the scam worked, not that I agree I am 100% responsible there. There was never arbitrary judge to rule on this, and I don't think I have been provided a fair explanation why in this situation I would have to take all the responsibility.

Most likely I will try to get an arbitrary judge to rule on this, and to define what responsibility and what kind of due diligence a person should take when he is trying to get a HV. Because that was never answered. 

All this happened in last ~7days. 






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30 comments on "Sneaky Scammer Intercepts Deal between Two High Stakes Poker Pros, Gets Away with $20K"

Displaying only the 25 latest comments. To view all comments, please visit the forum thread:
» Sneaky Scammer Intercepts Deal between Two High Stakes Poker Pros, Gets Away with $20K

 antonis32124/09/2020 23:37:18 GMT
I agree with dule-vu , they should have followed a more carefull plan , maybe try to communicate each other more by phone or viber or skype or whatever else , alot , many hours , cause it's $20k , alot of money, not just 1 or 2 dollars , lol . Ofcourse , these transactions for the HS players are sth usual , everyday prosedure maybe , but on the other hand , they should be very carefull . Scammers await in the dark corners of the dark web , for the chance to steal your money .... sneaky bastards ..sneaky thieves !!!!
 CALICUL25/09/2020 08:42:02 GMT
Poker rooms must completely ban transfers of money between players or cash transactions with virtual currencies. This mode will no longer endanger security of the bankrolls, that big gamblers have. Hackers are dangerous and scammers as well.
 dule-vu25/09/2020 20:39:12 GMT
thats why best way is when you can see with whome you talk and on some better ways!its much better when you can do that from poker software and that you dont need to do that from other payments platforms,skrill,visa,whatever!
best option is when players want to do something like this,is that poker site make this option for players,but that transfer can be done when both of players made their payments,so that transfer is in same time,not that some player send it and second can do or not to do 5 minutes later,that is must be in same time!on that you couldnt cheat somebody!
 CALICUL26/09/2020 08:47:31 GMT
I like that the other player made a great gesture of solidarity and shared this damage of 20.000 dollars. The police must identify this thief who showed talent and managed to fool two more valuable gamblers. I want him to go in jail for few years.

 captnviagra27/09/2020 16:47:41 GMT
I feel bad for the guy. And the other player is a stand up guy for taking half the loss even though he didn't have to. It's amazing the lengths scammers go to rip people off. I really hope they catch the guy/girl responsible. Hopefully it's not someone from the poker world behind this scam. Too many black eyes in the poker world past fews years giving us poker players a bad name.
 antonis32127/09/2020 20:18:39 GMT
I do not like the idea the poker rooms to ban transactions between players calicul , they should allow things to keep on as athey are . Enough problems we have , enough restrictions by states , enough prohibitions .

P2P transactions it's good imo , and it's reversable , so no problem , also if the other transactions , in this case the crypto transaction are reversable , meaning if sth goes wrong and the two parts see this in a reasonable period of time , in one day , they would be able to cancel the transaction .

That's why it's good to have a little delay in the withdrawals from the pokrrooms or casinos or crypto wallets or whtever , you never know what demands maght occur and ask their money back from this account , if I am not wrong . Instant withdrawals , not so good i would say . Smile
 dule-vu28/09/2020 10:14:47 GMT
I know that this isnt normal situation and this man got free money,but you cant do anything to him,because he didnt forced anybody to give this money to him,its just theirs fault!they didnt check account and man that they talk with,so he just took chance to get free money and what law can punish him?next time they will be careful!
 CALICUL29/09/2020 15:05:45 GMT
Every man with his opinion of course but transactions between players should be prohibited, because such friendships should not exist in poker rooms. Collusion is prohibited and it is normal for money transfers between them to be the same.
 antonis32101/10/2020 23:04:16 GMT
I do not know how ecactly these skype chat groups are being organised , this scammer how succeeded in interfering in this transaction .

I have some questiomns , they did understood sth was going wrong very soon , the bitcoins had been transfered , couldn't Romero cancel the transfer of bitcoins from his bitcoin ewallet to the scammer's ewallet account ?? The scammer couldn't have withdrew it so quickly , could he ??

Also for $20K , does it worth to hire a specialist or a lawyer , go tothe police to find this scammer ?? Man , If he's from NA Asia , his salary , poker bankroll , ewallet , everything else , might be $22,22 LWLW Big Smile Big Smile Big Smile ,
ofcourse the $20K wil be in the hands of a distant cousin or another scammer , who knows , even if they find them , the expenses for lawers and specialists will have to be covered from these 22.22 dollarios , LOLOLOLOLOLOL :d:d:d:d .
EVERYONE , ANOTHER TIME MORE CAREFUL Smile Heart Thumbs Up Worship Dollar Dollar Dollar Cool
 CALICUL02/10/2020 17:22:29 GMT
I don't know what the outcome of this story will be, but i would like to know if thief will be found because he deserves to go in jail. Fooled players will be left with this bitter taste for a long time and this is an ugly situation for they.
 antonis32103/10/2020 15:21:00 GMT
Even if they caught him , there will always be scammers in this kind of transactions or others , most of the times trying to take advantage of the trust or the credulity of one of the trading parties . This time they were both guilty imo , they were bot in a rush to complete the transaction asap , they should have done things more patiently , with thoroughness , with many security measures .
 CALICUL04/10/2020 07:36:12 GMT
I have talked in the past about some details about how it should be. All scammers, bots, etc ... will disappear if one thing is done. 30 years in prison for those who commit intentional illegality. A law of this magnitude will stop everything bad.
 dule-vu04/10/2020 14:53:38 GMT
so just dont know how all of you think that he will be in some problems,even if they find him!?every fault is on this two players and he did talked with him on skype,so he did send him money,he didnt put gun on his head!so only problem that this isnt moral at all and that he tricked them,but that some other story!
 antonis32104/10/2020 20:30:08 GMT
Yeah man , everything is about penalties . . . if the penalty for this specific action was severe , protected by international laws and agreements between governments , this scammer would think it twice to scam for $20k . Some riminals scam even for $50 ,they do not care nowadays. There are 1B times worse crimes that this , societies anathematize and stigmatize these crimes and their perpetrators , maximum penalty 5 years in prison Disagree
 CALICUL05/10/2020 08:49:00 GMT
Hard punishments can solve any inconvenience, but this thing it is not wanted... because we must to be kept in an obvious "terror" on a planetary level of course by those who lead it. Good people do not take action, we are led by villains and for this reason it happens that many people fall victim to thieves.
 dule-vu05/10/2020 15:52:57 GMT
antonis ofcourse they dont care about this,thats point of their job,to take you money,why would they care about you and what will be after?but he didnt make almost anything wrong by the law,he just made similar account on skype and asked other players for money and he gave him this amount!so for me this is clear story!
 CALICUL06/10/2020 10:35:33 GMT
Almost no one will steal if this law which i said... would be promulgated all over the planet. We have in front with a lot of companies that want to make money from us, but safety where it is. At ATM, if someone steals your money, bank does not pay damage, even if it is their fault.
 faisal198214/10/2020 07:34:43 GMT
the good job
 CALICUL14/10/2020 07:45:58 GMT
Why is it a good job? You like to scam or see other thieves when they steal? I don't agree with something like that because it's not normal. In some countries a man can live with $ 20,000 for 3-4 years. If you lose an amount like this, you accept the situation with an identical comment like here?
 antonis32114/10/2020 23:22:05 GMT
In some countries they can live their whole lives with this amount of money calicul , lol , at least the basics , cause in the countries where they live most people cannot afford not even the basics . . But ofcourse internet or moreover cars or whatever else are luxurius things for the micro minority , and their b***** or doggy-bodyguards or not to forget to mention lol
 CALICUL15/10/2020 08:44:17 GMT
In third world countries can live with this money 20,000 dollars, but it is normal that no one steals from you. These players, even if they have money... are a little upset, because have been fooled by a internet thief. Anyway, don't know if he'll be caught.
 dule-vu15/10/2020 14:44:17 GMT
Posted by antonis321:
In some countries they can live their whole lives with this amount of money calicul , lol , at least the basics , cause in the countries where they live most people cannot afford not even the basics . . But ofcourse internet or moreover cars or whatever else are luxurius things for the micro minority , and their b***** or doggy-bodyguards or not to forget to mention lol

whole life to live with only 20 K dollars?where is that country?I know that we have lot of poor countries,but come on,20 K for whole life!just to eat,to pay bills and buy some clothes and thats only minimum things,you cant live with this money,not in africa,not in thailand!if you dont have electricity and water,to eat rice and potato,then you can!
 CALICUL16/10/2020 09:48:02 GMT
A few years ago, China had very low retributions in rural areas. People earned less than 100 dollars per month, but it was enough for them. That was slavery of course and people from there were satisfied to some extent. Communism... is guilty. People steal because need money for eat and their families.
 geseco1211/11/2020 22:48:55 GMT
We must be very careful when we make use of our money through third parties that are not trustworthy, or that do not give us confidence, these players lack more experience in these matters, because if we are not aware the theft can be much greater in later years, and sometimes in these cases one must learn not to fall into error again ...
 CALICUL11/11/2020 23:36:41 GMT
I don't transfer money to anyone. Anyway, my level is not the same like these two players. I do not understand why these combinations are accepted without consent of administrators? Many poker rooms must change that rule.

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