New Jersey

Ex-Pro Poker Player Scams Travelers at Newark Airport: Port Authority Police

What to Know

  • Michael Borovetz, a 43-year-old former poker player from Pittsburgh, has been scamming travelers at Newark Airport, police say
  • He'd claim that his flight was canceled and he needed $200 for a hotel room, and that he'd pay the victim back
  • Authorities say he's also pulled the trick at other airports

A former pro poker player has been scamming travelers inside Newark Airport in an elaborate ruse in which he'd "borrow" money, then disappear, authorities say. 

In the latest scheme on April 3, the suspect, 43-year-old Michael H. Borovetz of Pittsburgh, approached a 55-year-old New Jersey man by the baggage claim in Terminal B of the airport, Port Authority police said. 

Borovetz told the man his flight had been canceled and he needed $200 for a hotel room. He promised to pay him back, according to police. 

The victim went to a nearby ATM and gave Borovetz the cash -- and then got suspicious and went to Port Authority police to report what happened.

It turned out Borovetz has pulled similar tricks in the past, according to Port Authority police. Last June, he targeted a San Jose man at Newark. And in other cases, Borovetz would purchase a refundable airline ticket to get into the secured areas of the airport and scam people for money. 

He'd allegedly pretend to have missed his flight, ask for $200 and promise to pay the victim back, according to police. He'd then use the victim's business card in the next scam, claiming to have a job interview with them.

After the latest report, investigators determined Borovetz was at the Newark Airport Marriott, and on Thursday, went to his hotel room and arrested him.

Borovetz is due back in Essex County Municipal Court on April 17. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney. 

Borovetz is believed to have targeted people in other airports, including Charlotte. He has played in the World Series of Poker, and played seven events from 2012 through 2014, according to the WSOP website

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