Nephew of Infamous ‘Crazy Eddie’ Charged in Gambling-Funding Fraud

  • Sam A. Antar charged with defrauding investors to fund gambling lifestyle at Atlantic City casinos
  • Becomes latest member of "Crazy Eddie" clan to be charged with securities-connected offenses
  • Faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and fines on second-degree felony charges
fraud written on paper under a magnifying glass
Sam A. Antar faces a lengthy prison term after being accused of fraud to fund his gambling habit. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Sam A. Antar faces 20-year prison term

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal has announced that Sam A. Antar, the nephew of infamous stereo-huckster and investment-fraudster “Crazy Eddie” Antar, has been charged with theft for allegedly stealing approximately $794,000 from investors in New Jersey and New York. Antar’s thefts, according to prosecutors, went largely to fund gambling episodes at Atlantic City casinos and online sites.

Antar, 43, of New York City, was charged on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 with second-degree theft by deception and second-degree securities fraud. Each charge carries a possible five-to-10-year prison term and $150,000 fine.

charged with theft for allegedly stealing approximately $794,000 from investors in New Jersey and New York

Sam Antar is the latest member of the extended Antar family to encounter significant legal trouble. After being convicted in 1993, “Crazy Eddie” Antar served seven years in prison and paid a $75 million fine for defrauding investors in his prominent retail chain of electronics-and-furniture stores.

Before his downfall, Eddie Antar’s “Crazy Eddie” stores spread throughout the greater New York City metroplex, and his manic-energy commercials made him that era’s equivalent of a viral hit across the United States. Eventually, nine members of Antar’s relation served time or paid significant fines once the billion-dollar fraud was exposed.

“Antar allegedly stole more than three-quarters of a million dollars from victims who trusted him to invest their money as promised,” said NJ Division of Criminal Justice Director Veronica Allende. “Instead he allegedly used their money for gambling or spent it on himself and his family. Along with the SEC, we are seeking justice and restitution for his victims.”

Defrauded Syrian Jewish community

The 14-page criminal complaint, obtained by VSO, asserts that Sam Antar defrauded at least six members of New York’s and New Jersey’s well-established Syrian Jewish community. Antar extracted approximately $794,000 from his victims, promising to invest the funds in supposed “pre-IPO” (Initial Public Offering) stock investments of on-the-rise firms.

Antar chose newer firms that would be easily recognizable to his victims, the complaint alleges. Firms used to sell the alleged fraud included Uber, Lyft, Slack, Juul Labs, Inc., and Casper Sleep Inc. (a high-end mattress manufacturer). Instead, Antar actually made no such investments, but used the money to fund his gambling soirees.

Antar did at times issue supposed returns on his fictional investments, but often then persuaded his marks to reinvest the returns, sometimes with more funds added as well. His scheme began to crumble in April and May of 2019 when his six-figure checks began to bounce. The defrauded investors then filed complaints with the US’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Stolen funds used to gamble

Investigators quickly determined that the investments were nonexistent and that Sam Antar was instead using the money to gamble and make other expensive purchase. On several occasions, Antar received a significant investment payment, then immediately traveled to unnamed Atlantic City (New Jersey) casinos to gamble.

Antar visited Atlantic City casinos on at least 31 days during a 14-week stretch from January to mid-April

The investigators also discovered Antar used the funds to pay down existing Atlantic City casino debts on three separate occasions during early 2019. The payments, of $63,000, $70,000, and $60,000, were just part of the money Antar spent gambling.

Authorities determined that Antar visited Atlantic City casinos on at least 31 days during a 14-week stretch from January to mid-April of 2019, spending hundreds of hours at gaming tables and slot machines.” Antar also gambled online during the same period. Though the New Jersey-based complaint did not identify the site or sites involved, they were able to determine that Antar placed “at least 41,712 online bets.”

Antar’s victims may face some challenges in recovering their losses. In the United Kingdom, for instance, that country’s Gambling Commission practices “long arm” recovery practices, ordering casinos and online-gambling operators to refund victims of theft or fraud where money is eventually gambled away. The US, which regulates gambling at the state (or tribal) level, generally has no such legal recovery provisions.