Recent casino scams

May 28th, 20122 Comments »

Since the beginning of casino gaming, there have been unscrupulous individuals looking for ways to scam the casino.  Casinos worldwide spend an enormous amount of money in an attempt to stay ahead and foil casino scams or at least minimize the impact as much as they possibly can, by utilizing the latest in surveillance technology and by attempting to hire the most qualified personnel.

One of the more popular casino scams that has repeated itself throughout the years, with little variation, is the credit scam. This often used scam involves opening accounts at the targeted casino so that credit markers can be taken against the balance. The unscrupulous individuals or teams then return to the casino, take out a marker, attempt to hedge their play by placing bets with little risk, rolling the chips, hiding any winnings and promptly paying off their outstanding markers.

Since the marker has been paid off right away and the account is in good standing, the individual is viewed in a favorable light. After a period time, the casino will generally raise the credit limit.  It is then that the crux of the scam comes to fruition.

The usual finale of the casino scams is that the parties involved will come in one last time and walk with the money – all cash – and a lot of it since the raised credit limits are often between 50K to 1 million.  The folks involved in the casino scams, of course, hope to ride off in to the sunset and never be seen again,

The recent developments in the case of 50 year old Chinese-born De Rong Shang brought the topic of casino scams to mind.  Shang, convicted earlier this year in Las Vegas, NV for defrauding 3 Station Casinos; – Red Rock, Green Valley Ranch and Palace Station out of $1 million in a baccarat credit scheme, has become a key figure in a new FBI investigation into a similar, larger casino scam on the Strip involving multiple Las Vegas strip casinos.

Shang and his co-defendant in the case, Yuli Eaton, 47, of Southern California recruited people to open Bank of America accounts funded by Shang. Then Shang helped the recruits apply for lines of credit at the casinos. Easton has already pleaded guilty and is cooperating with authorities.

Once the lines of credit were approved, the recruits transferred the money from their accounts to Shang’s account.

The recruits, who were paid $300 for every $10,000 line of credit they received, withdrew chips from their lines of credit and played baccarat at the casinos

Prosecutors allege that Shang ended up cashing in the chips.

By the time the casinos tried to collect the unpaid markers, the accounts had been drained or closed.

As I said casino scams are nothing new. Perhaps because of the poor state of the economy, casino scams, particularly credit scams, appear to be increasing lately in frequency.

Other casino scams occurring with increasing frequency concerns unused free play that has been issued to a casino patron via their player club card.

This type of scam or theft is perpetuated by employees.

Enter Tony Ahn who worked as analyst with The Mirage Resort and Casino.  Ahn used his position as an analyst to identity customers who had unused free play.  He would transfer the unused free play funds to other accounts that he presumably created and recruited people to gamble on the fraudulently made cards. Ahn became so brazen that the group actually used facebook to communicate.

The crimes occurred between 2009 and 2010 with Ahn being indicated in February, 2011. He pleaded guilty in early May of this year to trafficking in, production and use of counterfeit access devices, fraudulent transactions with access devices and conspiracy to commit access device fraud and has agreed, with the other defendants in the case to make restitution of over $860,000.  He is scheduled to be sentenced August 6, 2012.

In March, 2011 Michael Payam Oveysi, who worked in a Vienna law firm allegedly cashed a forged $250,000 check at an Atlantic City casino and then fled the country.

Oveysi had deposited two checks worth nearly $130,000 in a bank in Vienna on January 20,  The next day, he went back to the same bank and withdrew $8,000 in cash and obtained a $250 cashier’s check

Later in the day, he presented an altered version of the cashier’s check , to the tune of $250,000,  at the Borgata in Atlantic City. He apparently had a winning streak since he later cashed out for more than $250,000.

Three days later Oveysi, his wife and son left the United States after presenting foreign passports with fictitious names and dates of birth at the airport. Authorities did not disclose the destination of the flight.

A search warrant was executed on Oveysi’s Porsche SUV and his Vienna home February 7th.  Numerous items were taken into police custody including two computers, guns and a filing cabinet.

Oveysi worked at the Tysons Law Group in Vienna for about a year.

If you have any information regarding these Michael Payam Oveysi, please contact the Fairfax County Police Department at 1-866-411-TIPS or text “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES (274637)

Another case from Vienna is Robert M. Short, a Vienna attorney. Short pleaded guilty to fraud charges for allegedly embezzling nearly $500,000 from his firm in 2003. Short allegedly wired $250,000 of the money to the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, cashed out and later fled to Argentina.

He eventually returned to the United States and turned himself in.

One that might be deemed the grand daddy of casino scams is the Roselli brothers or the brothers that the casino knew as the Roselli Brothers.  They were involved in a very elaborate scheme spamming from Atlantic City, NJ to Las Vegas, NV to Puerto Rico.

They had hired a computer hacker to obtain the credit histories of Americans and even foreigners with outstanding credit ratings. After opening new accounts in these people’s names, the Roselli brothers would apply for credit at the major casinos.  They maintained the bank accounts for a minimum of six months to meet the casinos’ requirement for establishing credit. Pretty soon they had fifty-thousand-dollar credit lines in the name of each fraudulent account they had established with the banks.

They were treat like high rollers and took advantage of all the perks.

According to Richard Marcus’ website,

They signed markers, got their chips, then used “offset” betting procedures to make the pit bosses believe they were losing all their chips while cohorts were winning them on the other side of baccarat and craps tables. Then with the same fidelity an honorable person returns his books to the library on time, the Rosellis promptly paid their outstanding markers. This got their credit lines jacked up, since they showed tons of action and paid their markers within a few days of leaving the casinos, a gesture just loved by casino credit departments. The fifty-thousand-dollar casino credit lines soon became a hundred thousand, then two hundred thousand, then half a million, and even a million in some of the classiest casino megaresorts. And the Rosellis kept on signing, playing, signing and playing, all the while giving the impression of losing big. Naturally their operation became complex and employed dozens of loyal associates from New Jersey, but as long as the casino bosses never caught on to the fact that each Roselli was more than one person, they would never know they were being victimized in the biggest casino credit scam in history.

New Year’s weekend, 2000 marked the Roselli brothers finale and last visit to Las Vegas.  They had a well-rehearsed guise and went to numerous casinos on all of the different shifts.  Since they were known by many names. it took careful planning for them in order to hit the casinos on different shifts with the various identities and not raise any red flags.

Their total take was a reported $37 million and it took many months before the casinos scam was even discovered. By then, they were long gone.

Check back soon for the upcoming article on slots casino scams.

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About Chellie Cervone

A Las Vegas "native" by way of New York, I'm a professional blogger who favors all things Las Vegas and offers a unique, witty and sometimes controversial perspective. You can count on me to tell it like it is. Please visit my other sites Las Vegas World News and Celebrity Feast Connect with me on Google+ Chellies World on Google+

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  1. Miz.Chellie says:

    Steve – I guess anything is possible. If it was his partners, couldn’t he provide info to the authorities to clear himself instead of leaving the country? And what about the reports that said the he was the one who presented the “altered” check?

  2. Steve says:

    This is not true, I know how casinos do indeed verify check transaction. Mr. Oveysi would never do this. All this craps are made by his former partners.

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