Johnny Chan victim in poker room scam

An investment turned out to be a real gamble for poker pro Johnny Chan, 49, after he lost $150,000 to John Robert White, 50, who told Chan his money would be invested in the construction of a poker room at The Diamond stadium in Lake Elsinore, Calif., southeast of Los Angeles County. Chan was told he could run the poker venue.

At that time, White was involved with a company that was proposing to develop The Diamond stadium and surrounding lands.

"He told me the Lake Elsinore casino was going to close soon because of crime problems and the license would be moving to The Diamond," said Chan in an interview with The Californian May 31.

According to Chan, White told him the poker room would be built in the parking lot of The Diamond and would be ready in early 2005.

"My wife and I talked about (the investment) and we decided to give it the green light," Chan said.

After several months, Chan says he discovered the card room wasn't ever in the development plans and demanded White return his investment. White issued him a cheque for $150,000 but it bounced.

White is accused of conning six victims, including Chan, out of a total of $232,00 from November 2003 to December 2004, said Deputy District Attorney Michael Silverman.

White was arrested May 25 at his home in Temecula, Calif. According to Silverman and Riverside County Superior Court records, White is being held in custody on "seven felonies involving grand theft and non-sufficient fund checks," among other charges.

Said Chan about the experience: "I'm kinda hurt, but life must go on. I just hope justice will be done in all this."

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