Scam Targets High-Profile Poker Players, Straining Rivalry

Benjamin “Blank Check Ben” Lee and “Wes Side” Wesley Fei, both known Hustler Casino Live players, are putting their differences aside. An alleged scam aimed to exploit their tense relationship, as detailed in a blog post by Lee and reported by PokerNews.

Last August, an anonymous WordPress post accused Wesley of cheating someone out of $250,000 through a crypto scheme. This individual reached out to Lee on Instagram about Wesley’s supposed scam. Skeptical but curious, Lee spoke with the anonymous accuser.

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The stranger shared his plan to publicly reveal Wesley’s misdeeds, seeking financial support from Lee. Though Lee initially declined, he changed his stance when informed that Wesley had counteroffered the accuser $35,000 to paint Lee as the smear campaign’s mastermind. Fearing for his reputation, Lee agreed to back the project against Wesley, wiring $1,000. He soon identified the accuser as Russell Thamer, a London-based financial recruiter.

Thamer’s blog accused Wesley of sending “thugs” to rob his house, an event Wesley later denied on Twitter. Lee, caught up in the scam, wired another $1,500 to Thamer. Shortly after, Thamer sought £80,000 from Lee, claiming to have evidence of Wesley’s immigration fraud. Lee turned him down twice.

When Thamer alleged he faced threats, possibly from Wesley’s associates, Lee became concerned for his safety. Hiring security for his L.A. home, he sent Thamer £22,500 in crypto for the purported immigration fraud evidence. Only later did Lee find out the evidence was fake.

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A discussion with Ryan Feldman, co-owner of Hustler Casino Live, led to a meeting between Lee and Wesley. Comparing their information, they realized they had been played against each other.

Screenshots of a WhatsApp conversation provided by Wesley to show attempts to manipulate both players. Both have shown evidence of Thamer’s extortion attempts after his scam came to light.

Lee conveyed, “He made me think he lost all his money to Wesley’s crypto scam and was in danger, leading me to send GBP 30,000.” Interestingly, through this ordeal, Lee and Wesley have become friends, united by the shared experience.

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