MI Man Uses Prosthetics And Masks To Rob Regional Casinos

Posted on July 27, 2020 - Last Updated on July 29, 2020

A Michigan man using prosthetic faces to pose as an elderly man stole more than $100,000 from casino-goers in Michigan and Kansas, according to the FBI.

John Christopher Colletti of Harper Woods, 55, was arrested in Kansas with records unsealed Thursday in federal court in Detroit, according to The Detroit News.

The charges are reportedly contained in a 17-page report, which alleges Colletti stole identities by buying personal information online and then making phony driver’s licenses to collect the cash.

FBI: One Detroit casino heist netted $30,000

On May 23, 2019, the FBI alleges, Colletti wore a prosthetic mask, blue jacket, dark cap, blue jeans and sunglasses inside MGM Grand Detroit.

He then made 15 cash withdrawals from a kiosk totaling $30,000 before leaving in a cab.

He was then dropped off at Pegasus Taverna in Greektown, near Greektown Casino-Hotel, where he changed in the bathroom. Upon leaving, he was no longer wearing the disguise and had a black trash bag.

The FBI alleges Colletti stole $98,840 from 10 victims at MGM Grand over a two-month period last spring.

VIP program allowed cash advances

The FBI said Colletti targeted players enrolled in a VIP program that allowed cash advances at kiosks. The advances were linked to the victims’ bank accounts.

The kiosks are monitored by closed-circuit televisions. Each time, Colletti would make multiple withdrawals for his scheme.

Colletti also obtained personal information that allowed the transactions to be completed.

Colletti caught in Kansas as pandemic unfurled

On March 12, four days before the Detroit casinos closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Colletti was arrested in Kansas.

Colletti was nabbed by the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribal Police at the Prairie Band Casino and Resort in Mayetta, KS.

There, he was approached by security officers and evaded them by going to the bathroom, leaving behind clothes, a walker and $11,000 in cash, along with two Michigan driver’s licenses.

The licenses had altered photos of an elderly man in a mask. They also had sticky notes with the victims’ Social Security numbers and phone numbers.

He was arrested with two more driver’s licenses in his pocket, and his rental car contained four prosthetic masks and a straw hat matching the one Colletti allegedly wore at MGM Grand.

An FBI K9 deputy found the prosthetic mask on the ground close to the casino.

FBI: Colletti collected 83 driver’s licenses in all

The search uncovered 83 driver’s licenses, 14 insurance cards, and books on how to get away with crimes.

There also was a recovered flash drive that contained forged documents, background checks, and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets with more than 1,000 names.

“Colletti also had photos of himself trying on the prosthetic masks,” the FBI agent wrote in the complaint.

Colletti is being held without bond until he can be extradited to Michigan.

Matt Schoch Avatar
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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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