Soccer Star Accused of Running a Ponzi

     LAS VEGAS (CN) – Former Los Angeles-area soccer star Meir Segal defrauded a Las Vegas waitress of $100,000 in a Ponzi scheme, she claims in court.
     Kerry Tabai sued Meir Marian Segal, his company Las Vegas Perfect Stay LLC, and Perfect Stay officer Peter Michael, on Nov. 5 in Clark County Court.
     Tabai claims she met Segal in 2005 while working at Las Vegas casinos, where Segal sat in the VIP section. They struck up a friendship over the years, Tabai says, and she babysat for his kids and helped him with his “ailing mother.”
     Segal is a former professional soccer player in Israel and Los Angeles and has coached soccer teams in Las Vegas and California for more than 20 years. He was a member of Maccabi Los Angeles from 1975 through 1980, and helped the club win three of its five National Challenge Cup titles.
     Segal organizes soccer tournaments and makes money by buying blocks of rooms at Las Vegas hotels and casinos and selling them for soccer events, Tabai says in the lawsuit.
     Starting in 2006, she says, Segal began asking her for small loans to buy hotel rooms and paid her back with checks she would hold and cash after the events were completed. She says the amounts he borrowed increased over time.
     Although cocktail servers in Las Vegas casinos generally are paid minimum wage, they can earn several times more than that on tips, with $1 per drink a common tip. Many times, the drinks are free to patrons while gambling, making it easier for servers to earn more tips.
     Tabai claims that in 2007 Segal told her the soccer events he organized were growing in popularity and he needed to borrow more money from her. After he showed her documents that included room lists and correspondence with Las Vegas hotels, she says, she wrote him checks for $15,000 and $15,500. But when she tried to cash a check for $15,750 given to her soon after, she says, Segal had placed a stop payment on it.
     Tabai says she immediately confronted Segal about the stop payment, and that he “as always, seemed to have a reason and excused that seemed plausible at the time.” Among the excuses, she says, were that the IRS had seized his bank accounts, the medical costs of caring for his parents, and his ex-wife demanding money and child support.
     Tabai claims she continued to loan money to Segal in 2008, which he repaid in small amounts, but she was not aware that other investors had filed a lawsuit against him that year, accusing him of fraud, conversion and breach of contract. She claims that lawsuit dragged on until 2011.
     “According to Mr. Segal, there were always big soccer tournaments and events throughout the year” on which he would make “large sums” of money to repay her, but he would “make up stories and lie” about why they did not make money, Tabai says in the complaint.
     By 2010, Tabai says, Segal owed her $72,000, and agreed to make monthly payments to her, which he did “sporadically” until April 2012.
     In 2012, she says, he persuaded her to loan him another $30,000 after he formed Las Vegas Perfect Stay, which she calls a fraudulent endeavor used as leverage to persuade her and others to loan more money out of fear that if they did not, he would have no way to pay off the larger debts.
     Tabai claims Segal used the money she loaned him to pay another victim of his Ponzi scheme.
     She seeks $102,000 plus damages for fraud and misrepresentation, conversion and breach of contract.
     She is represented by Crystal Eller.

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