‘Vegas Dave’ Indicted by Feds for Misuse of Social Security Numbers

By - April 18, 2017
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The famous sports bettor who is known as ‘Vegas Dave’ is facing a federal indictment for misusing Social Security numbers.

The federal indictment was filed on April 12, stating that Dave Oancea misused the Social Security numbers when he was opening player accounts at various Las Vegas casinos.

The federal charges indictment states that there were at least nine suspect incidents at the Wynn and Westgate casinos in Las Vegas in 2015 and 2016. Federal court documents state that Oancea gave businesses social security numbers that were assigned to other people or to no one, but he pretended as if the social security numbers were assigned to him. He stands accused of making more than $3.5 million in bets with sportsbooks at the casinos with the bogus Social Security numbers.

‘Vegas Dave’ also is facing separate federal charges for causing a financial institution to file a false report. Casinos must submit currency transaction reports when a player places bets or collects winnings in excess of $10,000.

Court records document that Oancea caused both Las Vegas casinos to submit a minimum of 137 false currency transaction reports with at least two Social Security numbers that are not assigned to him.

The federal indictment also includes an order to force the bettor to forfeit $881,000, which is part of the fortune that he has won off his betting.

Oancea is well known in betting circles for futures bets he has hit it big on in the past. He also is well known for spending thousand of dollars per night in various Las Vegas clubs on drinks, food and women. There also are accusations that he has been seen buying and using cocaine. He was banned from the club Hyde in the Ballagio in Las Vegas after security saw him handing cocaine to someone else.

Earlier in 2017, Oancea won $2 million when the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons won the NFC championship. He did miss out on $3 million he could have won if the Falcons had prevailed in the Super Bowl.

Oancea also has collected millions of dollars on winning bets when MLB’s Kansas City Royals won the World Series in 2015, as well as the Denver Broncos’ Super Bowl win in 2016.

After the federal indictment was unsealed, reports surfaced that Oancea has not been returning calls. Messages on his cell phone say that he is out of town and is not coming back soon. This is leading some to speculate that he has left the country and will not come back to face the federal charges.

Controversy On Whether Using Another’s SSN Is a Crime

Although Vegas Dave is currently facing federal charges for using another party’s social security number, there has been legal controversy in the past about whether using someone else’s social security number is actually a crime. At least one US court is on record saying it is not.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that a man who used his own name but another person’s social security number to get a car loan was not guilty of criminal impersonation. This led to a conviction from a lower court being overturned.

This followed a 2009 ruling where the US Supreme Court found that a man from Mexico who gave a fake Social Security number to get a job could not be convicted for federal identity theft. The court found that he did not knowingly use the Social Security number of another person.

However, an Iowa state appeals court found that a man who used a woman’s SSN in California to get a job was guilty of identity theft.

Experts say that identity theft can come in many forms, but one of the most difficult from a legal perspective is SSN only identity  theft. In such a case, the imposter uses the SSN of a victim, sometimes bought from a broker, or possibly just nine random numbers, to get credit or to, in Vegas Dave’s case, to allegedly place sports bets. In many cases, borrowing the SSN works and the imposter is not detected for many years.

The question in these cases is whether using a SSN of an anonymous victim break laws regarding identity theft? Some legal experts contend that some courts have not been recognizing that these cases do lead to harm. They say that some judges are not recognizing the potential harm that can be caused to victims.

It appears in Vegas Dave’s case that the federal government is saying that Oancea’s alleged actions led to harm on the part of the anonymous victims.

Oancea Bet His $10,000 Student Loan on Roulette

The federal charge that Oancea is facing is just the latest bump in a long career in sports betting. Oancea’s career in sports betting started in 2002, when he moved to Las Vegas from Hawaii. He took out a $10,000 student loan while he was going to UNLV. He put the entire amount on red on the roulette table and doubled his money. With that $20,000, he was able to start a legendary sports betting career.

In the years after that, he had many ups and downs; he had many days and nights when he lost all of his money. At one point, he actually spent two months in Gambler’s Anonymous and he had to borrow money from his parents to get out of debt.

Oancea said in interviews that he always thought that he could succeed in sports betting, but he did not have the money management skills and self control to succeed.

Whether he will be able to overcome this federal charge as he did his early struggles in sports gambling remains to be seen. Although there is some question based upon past rulings whether using another person’s SSN is a crime, there also is little doubt that the federal government is going to go at this case very aggressively. ‘Vegas Dave’ is famous and the Justice Department will be interested in making an example of him.