Friday, June 06, 2008

James Bond Poker Cheats Caught in Cyprus Casinos!

A new tiny-hidden-camera scam has been busted in Cyprus, no doubt targeting poker variant games that now appear regulary in casinos across the world. Back in 2005, we saw the "Three Card Poker Gang" caught with their mini-cameras in their sleeves in London after bagging more than a half million bucks in profits. Now we have a Russian gang going down for the same gig in Cyprus, and more and more I´m seeing Eastern Europeans at the forefront of high-tech-gadget casino cheating. Remember, it was a group of Hungarians who put down the famous Ritz roulette scam back in 2004 with laser scanners embedded in cell phones. Just like the Russians took over the fraudulent credit card business, they´re taking over the casino cheating business!

The headline in the Cyprian Famagusta Gazette read:

"James Bond" mafia ring caught Cheating in Cyprus!"

Four Russians appeared in court in occupied northern Cyprus accused of trying to swindle thousands of pounds from casinos by using "James Bond-style equipment" to try and beat the casinos.

The men, dubbed "The James Bond Mafia" by local press, cheated casinos by using pin-hole cameras hidden in cigarette packets, tiny microphones and even a van equipped with "enough surveillance gadgetry to conduct a full scale CIA operation".

Satellites, shortwave radio, internet and other cutting-edge devices never seen in Cyprus were discovered in the van, which was stationed outside the casino in a car park.

The officer leading the investigation told the Famagusta Gazette that after they found two suitcases of high tech gadgets in the Russian men’s hotel suite he knew they were dealing with highly skilled criminals.

The target of the gang was the popular "Viva Casino" in Kyrenia, where the Russians carried out their operations for over a week, before raising the suspicions of the casino detectives – who in turn, carried out their own surveillance on the Russians.

According to allegations, the Russians had perfected a fine-tuned system and had been moving from casino to casino in the occupied areas. The Viva Casino reported the men had taken over US$18,000 from them last week in "winnings".

If found guilty, the gang could face up to 10 years in prison