Detroit Metro Airport police arrest professional poker player wanted for scamming travelers

Police tracked Michael Borovetz for years

ROMULUS, Mich. - A professional poker player who's been wanted at Detroit Metro Airport for four years was arrested in the McNamara Terminal over the weekend for scamming travelers across the country with a sad story in an attempt to get money, airport officials said.

Michael Borovetz, 44, is a well-known professional poker player who has been convicted multiple times of fraud at airports, according to authorities.

Borovetz has been wanted at DTW for the last four years on suspicion of scamming travelers across several states, airport officials said.

He was arrested Saturday by officials with the Wayne County Airport Authority Police Department in the McNamara Terminal, according to police.

Borovetz is known to approach passengers at airports across the country with a sad story in an attempt to get money, officials said. He promises to pay the money back, but the travelers never hear from him again, according to authorities.

"He'd escort them to the ATM, they'd withdraw a couple hundred dollars and give them to him and he'd promise to pay them back," said Thomas Zahina, deputy chief of Metro Airport police.

Borovetz even talked about how he pulled off the scheme in a podcast posted to YouTube.

Listen to the podcast below.

"I was saying I was getting a money wire," he said on the podcast with Joet Ingram. "People trusted me. People said I had a trusting face. I guess I do."

Police at DTW said they first learned of Borovetz's scheme in 2015 when a passenger recognized him from a previous encounter.

More complaints about Borovetz trickled in over the last four years but police weren't able to arrest him until Saturday, airport officials said.

Police received a tip that Borovetz would be connecting at DTW on his way from Seattle to Miami for a gambling trip, officials said.

"We had arrest warrants in hand, and we knew he would be passing through our airport, and so we were able to take him off of a flight," Zahina said.

Borovetz was taken into custody Saturday and arraigned Monday on two counts of false pretenses with intent to defraud. Both charges are misdemeanors punishable by one year in jail.

Borovetz is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

His criminal history spans 13 states, according to records.

Anyone who has been a victim of Borovetz's alleged scheme is asked to call police at 734-942-5212.

Hear Borovetz describe the scheme in the podcast below:

Copyright 2019 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.