Posts Tagged ‘fraud’

Blackjack Con Beats Casinos, Court

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

I’ve written some Dumb Crook News in the past on this site, but this time it’s the court and the casinos who were dumb. The crook made out like, well, a bandit. I guess sometimes crime does pay.

A Turkish man named Seyit Ibrahim Yel (if that is his name) allegedly conned countless casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. He was arrested on other charges and then, despite warrants for his arrest, released on a technicality. The casinos have tried to sue him to get their money back, but unfortunately no one can find him.

Back in 2008, Yel went around to casinos across the nation posing as a wealthy business man named “Mustafa Seda.” Seda passed himself as a high roller, being flown into the casinos on private planes and staying in complementary suites, all courtesy of the casino. After all, casinos are more than happy to pay for things like that for the high rollers. The problem is, the real Seda might have been a high roller, but Yel wasn’t him.

Instead of bringing his own money to the casinos, Yel did what many high rollers do and took out markers, which are basically loans from the casino that allow you to play on their dime. If you win, you pay them back with your winning chips and if you lose, they deduct the amount of your marker from your bank account. However, there was no money in Yel’s account to cover the marker, making that loan the equivalent of knowingly writing a bad check. That would also be known as fraud.

Yel apparently is a good blackjack player, because he won some money at those casinos. Then, instead of paying back the marker amount, he either walked out with it or passed the winnings on to an accomplice.

Yel was later arrested for an unrelated scam involving a theft of $77,000 worth of gasoline. While awaiting his trial, authorities notified the Nassau County Judge that Yel was wanted for the casino scams and had warrants for his arrest in Nevada and New Jersey. However, because he went by the alias of Mustafa Seda and the casinos and authorities in those jurisdictions thought that was his real name, the warrants were under the name of Seda. Because those warrants were under a different name, the judge ruled that they were invalid and allowed bail for a mere $3,500.

Since Yel had conned Vegas casinos out of $420,000 in one week alone, coming up with the bail wasn’t much of a problem. Upon being released from jail, Yel decided against the whole remaining in the country and awaiting his trial thing. Instead, he hopped on a plane and flew to the United Arab Emirates. Why the UAE and not Turkey, you ask? That could be because Turkey has an extradition treaty with the United States, whereas the UAE does not.

Since then, the Bellagio attempted to sue Yel to recover $200,000 stolen from their casino. However, that lawsuit was thrown out by a judge who said he had not been properly served. Also, the lawsuit was again in the name of Seda (okay, that time it was the casino’s fault).

I don’t know how this will affect the real Mustafa Seda. Yel illegally snuck into the United States across the unsecured border with Canada and then assumed the identity of wealthy businessman Seda, who had returned to Turkey earlier.

So what have we learned? First, that just because someone acts like a high roller doesn’t mean they are one. We also learned that you should always keep an eye on someone you loan $200,000 to. Also, our legal system needs to apply more common sense, so that using an alias can’t get you off the hook. If not, then we learned that if you commit fraud, all you have to do to get away with it is commit it under someone else’s name.

NY Judges Denies Tzvetkoff Bail

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Australian national Daniel Tzvetkoff made news 2 weeks ago when he was arrested in Las Vegas and charged with bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to operate and finance and illegal gambling business.

Yesterday, a New York judge denied Tzvetkoff bail, meaning that he will have to remain in jail until his trial, which is more than a year down the road. Last week, a Las Vegas judge ruled that he should be released on bail because a U.S. citizen in his case would have. The prosecution then appealed to the New York District Court, where he is facing charges of bank fraud and money laundering. There, Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that Tzvetkoff is a flight risk, due to his foreign status and access to over $100 million dollars, and denied bail.

Tzvetkoff was co-founder of online payment processor IntaBill. He allegedly moved money from American online gamblers’ bank accounts to the accounts of offshore shell companies. He then moved the funds from the shell companies to online casinos. Tzvetkoff’s type of money laundering is called an Automated Clearing House system and he used it to funnel millions of dollars between the U.S. and the British Virgin Islands.

In 2009, online casinos stopped doing business with Tzvetkoff due to allegations that he had stolen $100 million from them. Two weeks ago, Tzvetkoff attended a conference in Las Vegas where many representatives from those online casinos were present. It is believed that one of those people alerted security, which then resulted in an FBI arrest.

If convicted of all of the carges, Tzvetkoff would face up to 24 years in prison. In addition, it is estimated that he could have to wait 18 to 24 months before his trial begins. He will be locked up in jail that whole time.

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.