High roller no longer, Sattler now faces federal fraud charges

April 17, 2023 5:59 PM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • John L. Smith, CDC Gaming Reports
April 17, 2023 5:59 PM
  • John L. Smith, CDC Gaming Reports

Las Vegas high-roller Brandon Sattler, who made headlines after accusing a top Strip casino executive of improper behavior, has been indicted on federal wire-fraud charges that accuse him of defrauding business investors out of more than $10 million.

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The indictment, stamped April 5, alleges Sattler used fraudulent documentation to help persuade investors into pushing millions into a business that purported to have contracts to renovate and replace television systems at major casinos and hotels. The investor victims, described in the criminal indictment as “Individuals 1, 2, and 3,” appear to be the same individuals who have been accusing Sattler of fraud in a protracted litigation in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Las Vegas.

“During negotiation with victim lenders, defendant falsely represented the existence or scope of the renovation contracts he claimed to hold, the balance of bank accounts he controlled, his personal net worth, and the existence of other wealthy investors to inflate his creditworthiness,” the indictment states.

Sattler provided investors with false documents purporting to be from a company executive who claimed he intended to purchase from Sattler “3,500+ television units” to be installed in various resort properties.

Trouble was, “This letter was a forgery,” according to the indictment. But the misrepresentation worked.

Sattler is also accused of claiming he had more than $8 million in receivables and “significant cash balances in his accounts, but was having cash-flow problems due to all the renovation projects he was contracted to perform around the world.”

In reality, the indictment alleges, his company’s contracts were sparse, he had falsified his account balances, and had no major renovations in the works.

“In reliance on defendant’s fraudulent representations, the victims provided defendant with a total of more than $10 million in loans,” the indictment states.

The indictment lists three emails from Sattler describing work he claimed to be willing to perform, a communication making false claims about his bank-account balance and business receivables, and part of a fabricated work contract; all, the indictment alleges, were meant to forward the criminal intent.

Sattler was also a high roller who is accused in a federal bankruptcy-fraud case of using investor millions to fuel his gambling habit at casinos on the Strip and elsewhere.

Sattler made the news last year when his name surfaced in a controversy at Resorts World Las Vegas, when he was exposed as one of several problematic high rollers frequenting the casino. After his presence made headlines, he was trespassed from the property.

He later gave a sworn deposition in his civil-bankruptcy case in which he implicated Resorts World Las Vegas President Scott Sibella of drug use.

In a March 2022 gaming-licensing hearing, Sibella fought back, saying in part, “I guess there’s a person that they’re investigating on a fraud. Well, he threw my name out there that I know this person. I met the person twice. He’s been a customer for 20 years. I don’t know him from Adam. He’s done no work at Resorts World. So they saw my name and they said, ‘Let’s get Scott and maybe subpoena [him],; maybe he knows something.’ They pulled it [the subpoena] back just two weeks ago, saying they were wrong.”

Sibella was cleared in February after a year-long inquiry by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The federal criminal case is being investigated by the FBI. The charging document lists Special Agent John Schettler, with Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim W. Fang as prosecutor.

Sattler’s involvement in an ugly bankruptcy-fraud case and his current related criminal charges may give some casino executives pause. His civil controversy was no secret, yet he continued to be a welcomed as a high roller at major resorts.

Which begs the question: Just how well do casinos really need to know their customers?