Several Recent U.S. Court Cases Involve Casino Cheats: Ohio, Connecticut, Pennsylvania
Vaughn Perry, a 40-year old blackjack player at the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland, has been indicted on charges of cheating on 139 occasions while working at the casino. The Cleveland native is alleged to have been cheating at the casino for a significant amount of time.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission says that Mr. Perry was caught cheating at the blackjack tables back in May 2014. When the Horseshoe’s security personnel made a subsequent review of Perry playing at the casino previously, they found 139 suspicious actions.
The most serious charge is a count of grand theft for an $8,000 win using suspicious means. On September 3, Vaughn Perry is set to be arraigned on the full set of charges.
Connecticut Conviction for Marking Cards
A 55-year old gambler in Connecticut pleaded guilty to marking cards at the Mohegan Sun. Bruce Koloshi, a resident of New Jersey, was caught marking the cards with invisible ink. Mr. Koloshi had faced a similar incident while visiting the L’Auberge Casino in Mississippi in July.
Bruce Koloshi received time served as his sentence in exchange for pleading guilty, cooperating with authorities, and agreeing to stay out of all Connecticut casinos for 3 years.
Meadows Casino Lucky Number Incident
A roulette dealer at the Meadows Casino in Pennsylvania suggested to a player at his roulette wheel that his lucky numbers was “4”, and he was going to try to aim the ball to land in the wheel slot. The croupier was charged with conspiracy in the incident.
According to court documents, a confidential informant recorded Mr. Valle claiming he was going to try to land the ball on a specific slot. When he was confronted, Robert Valle told investigators he had no ability to place the ball where he wanted it and he was only joking around in order to establish rapport with the players at the table.
Valle was quoted saying, “If I could do something like that, I’d have everybody and my brother coming in.” Apparently, Valle’s coworkers buy his story, because fellow employees of the Meadows Casino held a “4 Freedom” fundraiser in order to pay for his legal bills.
Cheating Fine Declared Unconstitutional
Also in Pennsylvania, a case from 2012 needs an update, due to a decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Two years ago, former dealer Michael Eisenberg was caught pocketing $200 in chips. At the time, all cases involving casino theft brought with it a mandatory $75,000 fine.
For stealing $200 in chips in 2012, Michael Eisenberg was assessed that $75k fine. Eisenberg’s lawyers argue that such a fine was “irrational and unreasonable” and the state legislature had “placed the casino above everything else in Pennsylvania.”
The court unanimously declared such an imposition to be unconstitutional, therefore Eisenberg won’t have to pay the punitive fine. The court’s opinion said such measures were “strikingly disproportionate to the manner in which other crimes are punished in Pennsylvania.” Chief Justice Ronald Castille said the mandatory nature of the fine exacerbated the poor judgment shown by the legislature.
A Spate of Gambling-Related Crimes
A gambling news blog tends to cover a fair number of gaming-related court cases. The large amounts of cash handled at a casino assures that a few people will try to make off with that cash in one illegal fashion or another.
In the past month or so, a strange number of cases have involved casino gambling. Maybe the perpetrators have been unlucky, or perhaps the heat of the summer months make people less rational. Whatever the case, a casino is a place with a lot of staff on-hand and seemingly-ubiquitous camera surveillance. It is not an easy target, so anyone considering rash actions should reconsider.
The risk/reward factor is not good. On the one hand, a low-stakes or mid-stakes gambler might pocket a few hundred or a few thousand dollars. On the other hand, the cheat or thief could end up serving months or years in prison. Such a conviction is no doubt going to cost them their day job. Even if they spend a few months in prison, the experience is likely to be a searing one. When they get out of jail, finding a new job is going to be hard, because many people won’t hire a former convict.
In such circumstances, a momentary decision to cheat the casino could turn into a downward spiral. While this might be obvious to most readers, it might not be to all. Never cheat at cards, especially in a casino full of cameras and staff trained to spot your activity.
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