Sydney Dad Scams Families in World Cup Fraud

July 23rd, 2014 | by Kaycee James
Alain Barataud's fake invoice convinced the Sergio Silva to hand over $6,000 for bogus World Cup tickets.

The Silva family was left stranded in Brazil after buying Barataud’s World Cup imaginary tickets. (Image: smh.com.au)

Presenting himself as a pro poker player and “professional football player,” Sydney dad Alain Barataud posed as a FIFA agent in order to scam unsuspecting World Cup fans out of more than $250,000. A recent media and police investigation revealed that Barataud used a series of ploys between 2006 and 2014 to con a string of victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Golden Tickets Never Arrive

The most recent incident came to light after fellow-Sydneysider Sergio Silva, whose son attended the same private school as Barataud’s, became the latest victim of his fraudulent activities, telling police and reporters that he was left stranded in Brazil after his World Cup final tickets turned out to be non-existent.

According to reports, Silva was promised VIP tickets and hospitality by Barataud for him and his family. However, after handing over more than $3,000 and travelling to Rio, Silva eventually found out that the tickets didn’t exist and he’d been left both stranded and out of pocket from the incident.

“I turned to my son and explained our worst fears had been realized … that Alain would not be turning up with our tickets … he wept. My father was with us. He cried also. All our dreams — broken”, Sergio explained.

Barataud reportedly pulled off the ruse by posing as a FIFA hospitality agent and used a counterfeit invoice as a convincer. To add insult to injury, Barataud reportedly strung Silva along right up until the start of the match and even found time to rub salt into the his victim’s wounds by posting a picture of himself watching the final.

A Web of World Cup Deceit

Investigations have also uncovered a string of similar instances involving Barataud and fictional World Cup tickets. Back in 2006, the grinder was convicted of defrauding an Australian company, Corporate Events Unlimited, out of $211,000. Documented in legal papers, Barataud managed to convince the company’s owner, David Martin, that he was a FIFA-accredited sub-agent who was able to provide a large number of VIP tickets to the German World Cup.

After handing over 50 percent of the $400,000 fee for 100 tickets, Martin soon realized he’d been the victim of a scam after the tickets failed to arrive. On top of this, further investigations into Barataud’s criminal past have revealed that he was one of the agents behind Dwight Yorke’s move from Manchester United to Sydney FC.

Over the past few years Barataud has attended various poker events across the world and cashed in several low-to-mid-stakes tournaments in Australia. Moreover, he’s appeared in several photos with the likes of Joe Hachem and Shane Warne. However, since earning his first cash in 2010, he’s failed to set the poker world alight and has only managed a meager $18,523 in live winnings to date.

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