Monday, February 25, 2008

Casino Cheater Nets 5 Years for Amateur Scam!

Wow! Steven Stotts gets 5 years in an Iowa prison for a stupid blackjack bet capping scam I've repeatedly warned cheaters not to do! The difference between bet-capping, which is adding chips to your bet once you know you're a heavy favorite (for example, when you have a hard twenty and the dealer has a seven showing), and Richard Marcus style pastposting, when you switch your bet for higher denomination chips AFTER you've already won the hand and been paid and THEN claim the dealer paid you wrong, is night and day. The bet-capping is repetitive action that gets you busted while pastposting ONLY ONCE for large amounts at the table gets you the money! I guess Stotts deserved the sentence for being so stupid!

Here's the article:

Mason City man gets five years for cheating at Diamond Jo

MASON CITY — A Mason City man has been sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of cheating at gambling at the Diamond Jo Worth Casino.

Steven Stotts, 57, was arrested in November 2006. He was sentenced on the Class D felony charge in Worth County District Court late last month.

In addition to the prison time, Stotts received at suspended $750 fine and was ordered to pay $230 in court costs and reimburse his court appointed attorney $60.

According to Worth County Attorney Jeffrey Greve, the conviction is the first on a cheating at gambling charge in the county since the casino opened in April 2006.

“We did have an investigation earlier,” said Greve, “but the individual was involved in a similar situation in Dubuque County, which had a much stronger case and it was prosecuted there. So this is our first conviction.”

According to court records, Stotts was convicted of “capping” and “pinching” bets while playing blackjack. (Pinching is the opposite of capping, when you reduce your bet with the knowledge you are probably going to lose it.)

“Video footage shows Stotts knowingly added more chips to his wager when odds greatly favored, or when the outcome of the game was already determined,” said the complaint filed in the court record.

The complaint was signed by Adrian McGeough, an agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

“Stotts has done this a minimum of six times,” continued the complaint, “as well as pinching a bet one time.”

Capping and pinching are typically done at blackjack and craps tables, according to Larry Mullen, special agent in charge for the DCI. Mullen oversees DCI agents assigned to casinos in Northwood and Waterloo.

“Capping is done when the player knows the outcome of the game and he tries to add chips, making for a larger payoff,” said Mullen. “Pinching is just the opposite, taking chips back before the dealer collects.

“If you get a busy table, with a lot of players, it does get difficult for a dealer to watch all the hands,” said Mullen. “That’s when we turn to the surveillance cameras.”

Greve and Mullen noted that Iowa’s state casinos are regulated by strict laws.

“Any form of cheating in an Iowa casino is a Class D felony,” said Mullen. “It doesn’t matter if it’s in a 1-cent slot machine or thousands of dollars, it results in a felony charge.”

Mullen said casino operators and security are more serious about charges when larger amounts of money are involved.

“An initial response, on a smaller infraction may be removal from the casino,” he said. “But anything involving the $5 chips and larger, gets people’s attention.”

Mullen said attempts at cheating are fairly rare. “Most people realize that if they make any attempt they’re going to get caught,” he said.

In addition to the trouble at the casino, Stotts will also be doing some prison time on charges he piled up in Cerro Gordo County.

He received two, two-year sentences for breaking his probation on driving while barred charges.

The court is allowing the driving while barred sentences to run concurrent with the cheating at gambling charge.