|Casino Exec/Casino Cheat|
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!