One of the most bazaar stories involving theft and a casino is coming to an end. John Christopher Colletti, a fifty-six-year-old man from Harper Woods has pled guilty in federal court for his role in an elaborate scheme to trick people at MGM Casino Grand Detroit out of their hard-earned money. Colletti used prosthetic face masks to conceal his identity as he scammed casino patrons.
Colletti used prosthetic face masks to make himself look older and would visit the MGM Casino on a regular basis. He used the casino kiosks to withdraw thousands of dollars in cash. He would change up his look each time he went to the casino, including wearing glasses, hats, and surgical masks.
In court this week, Colletti pled guilty to charges of wire and identity fraud. He was able to use the scheme to steal over $125,740 from gamblers at the MGM casino as well as other casino venues. For his actions, Colletti faces up to 20 years in prison.
An investigation began involving Colletti back in May 2019 when 10 incidents of identity theft took place at the MGM Grand. The incidents took place from late April to late May. The amount totaled almost $99,000.
Police were able to review security footage and determine that the same individual was part of each incident. In May 2019, Collette was seen wearing the prosthetic mask as he approached the kiosk. In less than 40 minutes, he completed 15 transactions and was able to take $30,000 from the casino machines.
Police were able to follow his movements and see him visit a nearby restaurant. He used the bathroom of the restaurant to remove his costume and then take a taxi away from the scene. It was not until March 2020 that he was arrested for identity theft charges.
He was seen on camera at the Prairie Band Casino using a mobility walker to take out $20,000 in cash from a kiosk. At this venue, it is required that patrons provide their social security number for reporting. He was approached by security and instead of going to the cashier cage to complete the transaction, he went to the bathroom and ditched the disguise.
Security officials found the walker, a key to a vehicle, two driver’s licenses, and $11,000 in cash in the restroom after Colletti left. The licenses had notes on them including the social security number and telephone number of the victim. The licenses were official and owned by other Michigan residents.
VIP Players Targeted
Colletti was targeting casino patrons who were members of the VIP Preferred Program. He purchased information about players online and then had fake IDs created in their likeness. After he was arrested, a search warrant used on his rental car showed the many ‘faces’ of Colletti. He had four masks in the vehicle, flash drives, 14 insurance cards, 83 driver’s licenses, 19 players cards, and much more in the vehicle.
The flash drives were used to house forged documents as well as background checks on people, information on how to counterfeit money, and a ton of additional information. Colletti had a master plan that was working for a while, but his actions eventually caught up with him.