Posts Tagged ‘conspiracy’

Blackjack Cheating Ringleader Convicted

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Readers, I’ve said this many times, but I’ll say it again: Do not cheat at blackjack. I know that people have different reasons and justifications for cheating at a casino, but there are two very good reasons not to do it: 1) It’s morally wrong. 2) It’s not worth the risk.

Phuong Quoc Truong found that out the hard way. On Monday, the San Diego man was convicted of racketeering and was sentenced to 70 months (almost 6 years) in prison and will have to pay $5.7 million in restitution to the casinos and $2.8 million to the federal government. In addition, he has to forfeit two homes, property in Vietnam, his Porsche and other assets.

Truong was convicted of leading a criminal organization called the Tran Organization that bilked 27 tribal casinos out of approximately $7 million. According to the court, Truong led a gang of 37 people and used an organized system to defraud the casinos out of millions. They did so, in part, by using the “false shuffle” scam.

In the scam, members of the Tran Organization would bribe or intimidate blackjack and baccarat dealers into agreeing to be part of the conspiracy. Once they were on board, the dealer would do a false shuffle when given a certain signal. The dealer then leaves a certain part of the deck unshuffled, creating “slugs” of unshuffled cards. The dealer would then signal to the Tran members when the slugs are coming up in the deck and, knowing what order the cards are going to come in, they would bet accordingly. The Tran Organization also supposedly used hidden transmitters and computer software to track the order of cards.

Even though they spread their crimes out over 27 casinos instead of focusing on one, the authorities eventually noticed and the FBI made the arrests. Wanting to get rich, Truong now has to hand over most of his assets and spend the next 5+ years in prison.

Dealer Pleads Guilty in Cheating Case

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

You know that old saying “crime doesn’t pay?” Well, sometimes it does. If it didn’t, then trust me, there would be a lot less crime. One of the deterrents for criminal activity, though, is that if you’re caught, you could be the one who pays. Such is the case now for a dirty blackjack dealer in Connecticut.

Jesus Rodriguez probably thought he had a pretty good deal. The Mohegan Sun dealer simply had to go about his day as normal, dealing cards for blackjack and baccarat, and whenever a certain criminal organization played at his table, he was to help them win. In exchange, he gets a cut. The problem is that the casino caught on.

Though I won’t go into detail about how the dealer cheated (I certainly don’t want to give anyone ideas), Rodriguez’s method involved what they call “false shuffles,” where the deck is played out normally and then the dealer shuffles in such a way that his co-conspirators can predict the order of the cards to be dealt.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, where he allegedly helped the criminal organization bilk the casino out of more than $100,000. The former dealer faces up to five years in prison and a fun of up to $250,000. If you’re bad at math, let me point out that his fine is more than double what he allegedly stole. Therefore, even if he got to keep 100% of the stolen money (which he didn’t), it still would not have been worth the risk. I guess Rodriguez is not good at conducting a cost-benefit analysis.