Thursday, June 22, 2017

Former High-Level Casino Executive Goes Down in Big Pennsylvania Slot Machine/Loyalty Card Scam

Casino Exec/Casino Cheat
Pennsylvania casinos have been a hotbed for casino-cheating scams, and a significant amount of those have involved employees, dealers and floorpeople alike. But we don't see to many high-level casino execs involved in cheating scams.

Robert Pellegrini made the grade. As vice-president of the Mohegan Sun casino in Wilkes-Barre, he engineered and directed a $500,000 scam that involved bilking the casino by using players' stolen loyalty card PIN numbers in order to play the slot machines for free.

Pellegrini teamed up with Rochelle Poszeluznyj, a casino cocktail waitress who memorized players loyalty card PIN numbers as she took their orders and brought the drinks. She then passed that information to Pellegrini, who made copies of the cards and stocked them up with free reward money which was used to get free slot play.

Enter Heltzel, a casino player who'd already been caught cheating at that very but inexplicably was not banned. Pellegrini made Heltzel the player who actually played with the loyalty cards, fraught with stolen identities, and split the money with Pellegrini and Poszeluznyj.

They bilked the casino for nearly a half a million bucks.

How did the scam come apart?

Well, you might have guessed it. Of course it had something to do with Poszeluznyj, who may have been a real looker who liked to go shopping with her share of the proceeds.

Problem was a jealous male dealer who was not involved in the scam but who knew about it from Poszeluznyj, was in love with the cocktail waitress and thought that Joseph Heltzel was bird-dogging Poseluznyj.

Pellegrini got 32 months in prison. At sentencing he claimed he was a compulsive gambler who stole the money not out of greed but rather to support his gambling habit.

Little credibility there, however, as at the time he was arrested he had more than $400,000 in the bank and other assets. He made the statement to the judge, "Where do you think casino workers go on their days off? They go to other casinos."

Apparently the judge bought it.

I don't. I was a casino dealer for two years and most of the dealers I knew stayed as far away from casinos as they could on their days off. Pellegrini was quoted as saying to his cohorts, "Get busy! I have bills to pay."

Poszeluznyj and Heltzel have pleaded guilty in the cheat scam and are awaiting sentencing.

My take: The most unusual piece of this unusual casino-cheat scam has got to be Poszeluznyj's last name! I mean, have you ever seen a last name containing two z's and ending in nyj? Not in this country!

And to torture myself I wrote it out each time in this article! I did not use any quick keys, and of course I could not remember how to spell it even one time!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Pastposting Bust at Mississippi Casino

Mississippi Casino Cheat
Good ol' fashioned pastposting is alive and well, but not always the smartest way to make money in casinos. People trying this casino-cheat tricks, especially those who are far from being professional, should consider other ways to make money, and would probably do better to forget about making money in casinos in the first place.

This latest arrest occurred at the Scarlet Pearl casino in D'iberville, Mississippi. The pastposter, 36-year-old Shantel Monique Welch, was reportedly playing 21+3 blackjack. The amount of her casino-cheat moves and the specific type of pastposting she used has not been released to the public, so I can't say whether she was actually adding chips to already existing winning bets or switching existing chips for those of a greater value. I would tend to lean toward the former,which is more commonly referred to as bet-capping.

In any case, this appears to be the work of an amateur who now stands accused of a felony, surely not worth whatever money she was cheating the casino out of.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

7 Years in Prison for Largest Counterfeit Casino-Chip Scam in History

Were all those chips fake?
Of course it happened at the Marina Bay Sands casino in Singapore. The mastermind of the fake-chip-cashing scam was Toh Hock Thiam and the amount of fake chips cashed out in the casino on a single day and night, November 22, 2015, was some $1.3 million.

That is a major scam, even by Singapore casino-scam standards. It is amazing to me how many different casino-cheating operations happen in Singapore casinos, and how many of them involve inside-cheating dealers, though I do not know if Toh  Hock Thiam had any casino-employee cohorts at the tables or at the casino cage.

But what he did have was 16 "runners" to cash out the chips, all of which were $1,000 chips and were of excellent quality. In fact, the counterfeit chips had five of the nine security features that the casino's genuine chips had, and they were not detectable to the naked eye.

A week later, a casino cashier employee noticed a slight defect on one of the chips, which led to the investigation of the scam and the arrests of Thiam and two syndicate underlings he'd hired to distribute the fake chips to the runners inside the casino's bathrooms.

My take: These were the best counterfeit chips since a Las Vegas chip counterfeiter named Charles O'Reilly (called Chipper Charley for his trade) manufactured scores of fake $100 chips in his garage for several Vegas casinos and cashed them all out--by a team of knockout Vegas beauties who moonlighted as showgirls.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Pennsylvania Hollywood Casino Hit by Insider-Dealer Cheat Scam

Sic Bo Scam in Pennsylvania
This time it was on the Sic Bo table, which is frequented by both roulette and craps players. The dealer worked in cahoots with a friend, who received covert siganls from the dealer instructing him when and how much to bet. Then the cheating dealer simply entered the winning numbers on the betting board and his friend collected the payoffs.

According to video surveillance, the pair pulled off the cheat-moves twelve times and earned more than $11,000. Or I should say borrowed since that money will be going back to the casino.

For their efforts, the guilty casino-cheat dealer/partner duo were charged with--you guessed it--12 counts of fraud and a bonus of two counts of conspiracy and one count of theft.

Again, this is another example of repetitive low-level casino-cheat scams that have to end getting caught--even by surveillance staffs that often lack experience.

Card-Switching and Bet-Capping All-In-One-Three-Card-Poker-Scam at Bethlehem Sands Casino in Pennsylvania

Site of Three-Card Poker Scam
A trio of casino cheats hit the Bethlehem Sands Casino with a right-left combination on its three card poker tables to the tune of $2,300, not much if you consider that they pulled a total of 23 cheat moves to gain that sum, all of which are considered felonies.

Bureau of Gaming Enforcement agents ran back surveillance tapes and saw the trio switching cards, glaring at one another's hands and then adding chips to their existing bets or raking chips off what they knew would be losing bets.

This is another example of blatant and repetitive cheating that usually ends the same way. Even casinos with low-level surveillance and cheating expertise get wise when low-level cheats go to the mill not one too many times but perhaps twenty-two too many times!

The cheats were charged with a bucket of felonies and released on $7,500 bail each, about ten times the amount of money they earned for their exploits, which they'll have to forfeit anyway.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Blatant Insider Casino Craps-Cheat Scam in Louisiana Casino

Louisiana Craps-Cheat Team
We've seen it countless times before and we'll see it countless times again. A Louisiana couple, Kevin Gray and Josekeitha White, teamed-up with crooked 49-year-old craps dealer Anthony Thompson at the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, Jefferson Parish.

It was another scam of the dealer paying his cohorts for non-winning or non-existent bets on the craps tables or simply not raking off the losing bets. Apparently the craps cheat-scam took place over two weeks and netted between $3,000.

I read that Thompson's cohorts, a man and a woman, played at his table some 70 times during those two weeks! A bit excessive and obvious, no? And in some cases they didn't even put a bet down and Thompson paid them.

Talk about a stupid and brazen casino-cheat scam!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Are North Korean Hackers a Threat to Online Poker Sites?

Is he taking your gambling cash?
We've been hearing for several years now that North Korea and its computer hackers, both together and mutually exclusive, pose a threat to just about everything in existence, online or off.

So what about the online gaming industry? We've seen several cases of Russian hackers and sophisticated online gaming cheats teaming up to rig jackpots both online and in brick and mortar casinos. How come we haven't heard much of this emanating from North Korea?

Well, I, for one, have read some online articles detailing North Korean hackers partnering with President Kim Jong Un and his nefarious intelligence agency to run online gaming sites that are actually attracting their arch-enemy South Koreans as the bulk of its clientele. If this is true, and it probably is, I can hardly imagine a situation where any online gaming site run by North Korea is not a direct bustout criminal operation.

If hackers are involved, they are simply there to give Kim Jong Un the latest technology to rip off its players as quickly as possible and for as much as possible.

Supposedly North-Korean-run online gaming sites patronizing to South Korean customers rake in more than a billion dollars annually.

And, I, again for one, would trust a North Korean rake as far as I could throw it!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Believe it or not, there are small-time Chinese Baccarat Cheats too!

Low-level Baccarat Scams
We have for more than a decade now been hearing about huge baccarat casino-cheat scams being pulled off by Chinese baccarat cheats all over the world, most of which have been done in collusion with dishonest Chinese baccarat dealers. Many of these scams that have been busted had raked in millions of dollars before they were finally discovered. The vast majority of these Chinese baccarat scams have made it at least to a few hundred grand before coming apart.

But I just recently read an article about another Chinese baccarat scam last month that raised my eyebrows--and not for the usual reason. This baccarat cheat scam happened at the Isle Casino in Waterloo Iowa.

The two Chinese baccarat cheats arrested were accused of pastposting and pinching (removing bets after they lost) $25 bets. Their biggest cheat win was $750, and I assume that if that happened at baccarat, it was the culmination of several pastposts and pinches during an entire gambling session.

43-year-old Ke Jin Chen and 52-year-old Wei Kui Fang are residents of nearby Cedar Falls, Iowa. Does that mean that had they lived in New York or Connecticut they would have been cheating baccarat for bigger stakes in Atlantic City and Connecticut casinos?

Good question, but regardless of that they may be facing several felony charges in Iowa.

Friday, May 05, 2017

BrainChip A1 Technology Reportedly Will be Used in French Casinos.

Can this guy and his gadget beat Casino Cheats?  
Casino Cheating in France has always been a fascinating topic for me. Not only from my own experiences running sophisticated cheat teams through the French Riviera and Monte Carlo casinos but also from French cinema. There have been a half-dozen or so French films about casino cheats and their really "brainy" scams. My favorite is "Les Tricheurs", which simply means "The Cheats." It is about the famous French Cigarette Pack Roulette Scam that occurred back in the early 1970s.

So it is fitting that the French casinos be the first ones to put BrainChip A1 technology to the test. You can read how it works here.

How effective is A1 against casino cheating?

Well, I don't really know. I have always stayed true to my belief that no high-tech instruments can really stop high-skilled casino cheats more than a fraction of the time. Against some scams, it would certainly be effective. But against all scams?

No way.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Wealthy Brazilian Gambler Hits $35,000 Straight-Up Roulette Bet and Wins $1,225,000 on First Spin--Was Cheating Involved???

Brazilian Billionaire and his BIG bet
Pedro Grendene Bartelle, a Brazilian who is supposedly already a billionaire, walked into the Conrad casino in Punto De Este, Uruguay on January 3 and made probably what is the biggest straight-up roulette bet ever made public in the history of legalized casino gambling worldwide. It was his first bet and he won!

$1,225,000 that is.

Which evokes a heck of a lot of questions.

The first of which is how did Bartelle gain permission to make such a large wager when the normal straight-up maximum bet at the Conrad casino is a mere $50? I have never heard of such a huge roulette straight-up bet, not even in the heyday of the famous Las Vegas Horseshoe casino when the legendary owner Benny Binion ran it. Binion was known for allowing enormous bets in his casino, and players indeed took him up on it.

One player once walked into the horseshoe with a suitcase filled with packets of $100 bills and dumped it on the pass-line at the first craps table he saw.

It turned out to be a million bucks and he won.

But 35 grand straight-up on a 37 to 1 longshot?

Well, maybe the bet was legit. Or maybe it wasn't. Maybe the casino had a deal with Bartelle and helped rig the winning outcome, which was number 32, which happens to be my favorite number.

During my 25-year casino-cheating career, I did a lot of big-time roulette pastposts with chips on number 32--although none ever came close to a million-dollar payoff! LOL

But you never know about casinos in South America, therefore you never know about their employees.

Of course you might ask, "Why would a billionaire be involved in a roulette casino-cheat scam involving a mere million bucks--or a bit more?"

Well, maybe just for kicks. Lots of celebrities have been known to use their celebrity status for additional financial gain and publicity.

You can also ask, "Why does any billionaire strive for more billions and more success?" See what I mean?

So you can throw logic out the window.

Of course I wasn't there to see the spin go down, so I cannot offer any definitive evidence for or against cheating, but the whole scenario is indeed very interesting.

I will say this, however: billionaires do not like to lose at anything...PERIOD