“Hey, brother, can you spare a dollar?” It sounds like something out of an old Bing Crosby song, adjusted for inflation, of course. However, an on-again/off-again poker pro has been using that line to supposedly scam people out of their money across several different venues.
Michael Borovetz, who has won almost $600,000 in live action and has a WSOPC gold ring to his credit, was recently arrested at Newark Airport after he defrauded an unwitting traveler out of $200. The con artist reportedly approached the 55-year-old New Jersey man with a sad tune of financial hardship, and was given $200. Borovetz had claimed that his flight was canceled and he needed a place to stay for the night.
The victim and the fraudster parted ways, but the traveler started having second thoughts shortly after the scam occurred. He contacted the New Jersey Port Authority and they confirmed that it wasn’t the first time that the 43-year-old poker player had swindled someone out of money. In June 2017, Borovetz ran the same line against a man from San Jose, who fell for his tall tale and gave him some cash.
Fortunately, airports have cameras. Additionally, hotels at airports typically have cameras. Borovetz was tracked to the Newark Airport Marriott, where he was promptly arrested.
Borovetz is no stranger to law enforcement. He has a rap sheet that dates back to the beginning of 2000, and has been arrested several times for trying to run this same airport con. In 2014, he was busted by the online poker community for having run the scam, and his antics resulted in a thread on the online poker 2+2 forum that ended up totaling 163 pages.
The ruse plays out like this: Borovetz approaches his target in the airport, explaining that he had arrived in town for a job interview. Set to return back home, his flight was cancelled and he was stuck with nowhere to go. He promises to pay the “loan” back with 100% and takes a business card from the target. That business card becomes part of a later scam, as he uses it to “prove” to his next victim that he had participated in an interview with that person.
In the 2+2 forum, Borovetz actually popped in and confirmed his degenerate actions. He went on to try to gain sympathy from the forum viewers over his extreme gambling addiction that had him sleeping in cars and under bridges.
That thread was from 2014, and Borovetz claimed that he was ready to make a change. It would seem, however, that he’s back to his old tricks and hasn’t learned his lesson. There was no word on what he did with his gold ring, which has an estimated value of between $2,000-$3,500.