Poker Players Expose Alleged Extortion Scam: Blank Check Ben and Wes Side Unite

Poker Players Expose Alleged Extortion Scam: Blank Check Ben and Wes Side Unite

Bigger Guarantee, More Ways To Qualify for WPT World Championship

The 2023 WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas promises to be bigger and better in every way for players – from ways to qualify to final table paydays.

An alleged fraudster pits Blank Check Ben and Wes Side against each other

An alleged fraudster is accused of pitting two prominent Hustler Casino Live regulars against each other to run an elaborate scam. Benjamin “Blank Check Ben” Lee and “Wes Side” Wesley Fei, both polarizing figures on the show, have an admitted tense relationship. But the poker players are putting their differences aside to expose someone they believe has extorted them both, which Lee explained via his own blog post.

Accusations and Contact

In August, an anonymous person made some accusations against Wesley in a WordPress blog post, claiming the poker player got him for $250,000 in a cryptocurrency scheme in early 2022. The anonymous individual then contacted Lee on Instagram to inform him about the supposed crypto scam. Being a proponent of justice and having a disdain for the alleged scammer, as he explained in the blog post, Lee decided to listen to the apparent victim to find out the details.

Financial Assistance and Bid War

As the two began to speak, the anonymous person told Lee that he was embarking on a project to expose Wesley’s crimes publicly and that he needed financial assistance in doing so. Initially, he refused the request, but then months later things took a turn when the anon victim informed Lee that after Wesley had somehow gotten word of the project, Wesley flipped the script and offered the person who accused him of a scam $35,000 to expose Lee as the “originator of this campaign of character assassination.”

Concerned that the accuser could harm his reputation, he offered to help fund the project to expose Wesley even though he knew he was being pitted against his Hustler Casino Live rival in a bidding war. He first sent a $1,000 wire transfer, and that is where he discovered the anonymous person he’d been communicating with is Russell Thamer, a London-based recruiter for a financial firm.

Burglary Allegations and Denials

In the anonymous blog, the author accused Wesley of sending “thugs” to burglarize his home and allegedly admitted to it after the supposed incident took place. Wesley sent out a tweet denying the allegations and hinted that Lee was behind the accusations. At around the same time, Lee wired another $1,500 to fund the project.

Immigration Fraud and Extortion Attempts

Around the same time, Thamer informed Lee that he’d been contacted by someone who claimed to have evidence that Wesley, who is from China, committed immigration fraud in the United States. But he required an £80,000 payment to turn over the evidence. Thamer asked Lee for the money, but the offer was declined. He then came back and claimed he’d negotiated a smaller amount for the evidence, to which Lee also refused to pay.

Threats and Scam Unveiled

Following the release of the anonymous blog post, Thamer claimed he’d received threatening voicemails and that he was being stalked, perhaps by Wesley’s hired goons. Upon hearing about the threats, Lee felt concern for his own safety, so he hired security to patrol his Los Angeles home, and then he sent another £22,500 in cryptocurrency to get his hands on the supposed immigration fraud evidence so that he could bring Wesley to justice for the crimes he’d allegedly committed.

But then a request for additional funds came hours later, and the following day he discovered the documents didn’t even exist. Lee would then contact Hustler Casino Live co-owner Ryan Feldman to discuss the matter and set up a meeting with Wesley.

Scammers Exposed

The following day, Lee and the poker player he’d been beefing with for months met to compare evidence (text messages and voice recordings). It was then that they both discovered they’d been scammed and pitted against each other by someone who likely took advantage of their disdain for each other.

In September, Wesley shared with WPT Global a WhatsApp conversation with the then-anonymous person, which is visible below and clearly shows the attempted scheme to pit the poker players against each other for financial gain.

Both Lee and Wesley have shared proof that Thamer attempted to extort and blackmail them even after his scam was exposed. “He tugged at my heartstrings and led me to believe that he had lost his entire life savings — Wesley’s crypto scam,” Lee told WPT Global. “Additionally, he also convinced me that his personal safety was at risk. This was when I sent him the GBP 30,000.”

Wesley explained that the two have since become friends as they learned that they were being extorted and pitted against each other. For further details about Thamer and his alleged scam, visit

Check out the Hustler Casino Poker Room review here on WPT Global! Two @HCLPokerShow players were allegedly extorted out of money by the same alleged fraudster.