Thursday, April 08, 2010

Tran Organization Blackjack Dealer Gets Light Sentence For Ripping Off Mohegan Sun


A U.S. District judge sentenced former Mohegan Sun table games dealer Jesus Rodriguez Wednesday to two months in federal prison and three years' supervised release for participating in a card cheating scam operated in Connecticut and throughout the country by the San Diego-based Tran Organization.

Judge Mark R. Kravitz also ordered Rodriguez and others involved to re-pay the casino $126,000. The 40-year-old Groton man had admitted to being recruited by the organization, getting coached on performing "false shuffles" and helping the organization to steal more than $100,000 from the Uncasville casino in blackjack and baccarat games. He performed the false shuffle two or three times and was paid $2,500 to $4,000 each time, according to a court document.

Through the scheme, a co-conspirator tracked the order of cards as they were legitimately played, and then Rodriguez performed a false shuffle, creating a "slug" of un-shuffled cards. A co-conspirator tracked the cards until the slug reappeared as they were being dealt, then signaled to others as to how to bet on the subsequent hands in order to cheat the casino.

More than 30 people nationwide have been charged in an investigation led by Department of Justice Criminal Division's Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. The cheating schemes occurred at more than two dozen casinos in the United States and Canada. Rodriguez had faced a lengthier sentence under federal guidelines. His attorney, Jeremiah Donovan, argued for a reduction, citing Rodriguez's prior lack of a criminal record and his history as a hard-working, law-abiding citizen. Each false shuffle lasted about 10 seconds, Donovan noted, "So the length of Mr. Rodriguez's overt activity in furtherance of the conspiracy was thus about 30 seconds."

Rodriguez, who had worked at the casino since 2001, resigned in 2009 after hearing he would be indicted.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. McGarry argued Rodriguez's actions hurt the casino owners and employees as well as the state of Connecticut, which receives a portion of the casino's revenues.

Indiana Card-Counting Case Goes to Court


An Indianapolis man banned from a riverboat casino's blackjack table because he counts cards just wants the casino to follow the rules, same as he does, his attorney told the Indiana Supreme Court on Wednesday.

"Grand Victoria has admitted that my client did nothing wrong," said Marc Sedwick, Tom Donovan's attorney.

The casino on the Ohio River at Rising Sun maintains that it, like any private business, has the common-law right to choose not to do business with anyone "for any reason or no reason," casino attorney Peter Rusthoven said.

But Justice Frank Sullivan Jr. had an idea what the reason might be.

"What you object to about him is that he's too good," he told Rusthoven.

Donovan, a retired computer programmer, said he's won about $65,000 playing blackjack since 1999. He learned to count cards by taking an online class in it after hearing a radio station interview an expert card counter.

Donovan sued the Grand Victoria Casino and Resort after it banned him from the blackjack table in 2006. The casino won the suit in a Marion County court, but the state appeals court reversed that decision and the casino asked the high court to weigh in.

"I'm not cheating at all. It's just using my brain," Donovan said.

Neither the state nor the casino has rules forbidding card counting, Sedwick said. In fact, he argued, state guidelines encourage players to keep track of their own scores.

Rusthoven countered that that applied only to the cards laid out on the table, not those left in the deck.

The core of the dispute comes down to which set of rules should apply: the common law that predates legalized gambling or the state regulations governing gaming. Sedwick pointed to a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that cited that state's regulations in siding with a card counter who had been banned from a casino there.

"Gaming is a statutory creature" that didn't exist in common-law times, Sedwick argued, so state regulations should apply. Those regulations don't bar card counting, and the casino never asked the state gaming commission to enact a rule forbidding it, he said.

"The issue this court faces," Rusthoven said, "is whether the common-law right to exclude anybody for any reason or no reason has been abrogated by the commission's silence."

He argued it hadn't, and the commission couldn't be expected to anticipate every possible circumstance in its rules.

"Everybody who watches movies knows if somebody tries to count cards, casinos don't like it sometimes," Rusthoven said.

State Gaming Commission Director Ernie Yelton said that before the Court of Appeals ruling, it was generally understood that common law allowed casinos to ban card counters, as they are allowed to do in most states. He said two or three casinos approached the commission since the Court of Appeals decision, seeking a rule granting them the specific authority to bar card counters.

But the commission is waiting to see what the court decides, Yelton said.

"We're not taking a position on this," he said. "I respect the authority of the court in these decisions."

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Rat Gets Major French/Spanish Roulette Pastposting Team Busted in Singapore Resorts World Sentosa Casino!

As I have been reporting, the casino cheating assault, both professional and amateur, has been ongoing at a ferocious pace inside Singapore's recently opened giant Resorts World Sentosa Casino. In prior posts I have stated that the cheats getting busted were strictly of the rank amateur level, but yesterday, Resorts World bagged its first major cheat team. But I must mention that it was by no means due to clever work by Sentosa's rookie surveillance department. The bust happened because a "rat" (a legitimate gambler at a table who alerts the casino that he or she saw a cheat move go down) playing on the same roulette table squealed on the cheats when he saw the move go down. Rats are generally not a problem for cheats in casinos, as most people prefer to mind their own business and not get involved, but during my 25-year cheating career they were occasionally a problem.

In this case, the 3-man cheat team, two middle-aged Frenchman, Fabrice Thierry Laurent Michel and Reynald Georges Victor Lasnel, and an older Spaniard, Jose Lopez Pintado, who have been around for decades and who I know and have seen from time to time working the same casinos as my cheat teams, apparently had an internal security breakdown as they did not act right nor follow good internal control and security procedures upon knowing they had heat. In fact, it seems that they have a lot more names than brains!

A week before getting caught, one of Frenchman pastposted (bet after the outcome was known) a large bet at a roulette wheel in the same casino and was in the process of getting paid before the rat started squealing. Instead of trying to smooth out the situation and control the heat, which is what I was taught is the only course of action in a rat situation by the legendary Classon cheats, the Frenchman panicked and left the table without picking up his bet and payoff. (You always gotta take the money!)

After that kind of mishap, an experienced casino cheat team has got to know that leaving town fast is a must! You have to assume that surveillance ran back the tapes, saw the move cleanly, and are waiting for you the next time you come back to the casino, if that is any time soon, which it should NOT be. But the European pastpost team behaved as if nothing had happened and returned to the casino just days later. They repeated their same move on two occasions, which is an efficient roulette slide move also done by professional Italian roulette cheat teams, and, as communication between surveillance and table games supervisors is often weak, the roulette dealers and pit supervisors had not been alerted to the prior events and paid the pastpost team a total of $13,400. However, surveillance was watching out for the team and got lucky to see them in the act on the second move. Security grabbed up the team as they were heading to the cashier to cash out their chips (another surprising mistake as delayed cash-out operations should have been employed), and turned them over to the Singapore cops. As I understand it, Singapore's laws regarding cheating in casinos have been set up to be strict, and the cheats face up to 10 years in prison!

My Take: Well...grudgingly...kudos to the Resorts World Sentosa surveillance team for at least not blowing the bust (this often happens when they have cheats dead to rights), and SHAME on you, Frenchman and Spaniard, for really acting amateurish when you're supposed to be one of the top casino roulette cheat teams in the world.