Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More on Connecticut Foxwoods And Mohegan Sun Cheat Rings

Richard “Mr. Casino” Taylor of Memphis, Tenn., the man police say was the mastermind in an elaborate cheating scam taking place at casino craps tables, is due back in court today.

Taylor remains behind bars facing felony cheating and larceny charges. Police say others worked with Taylor to cheat the casino of thousands of dollar.

Police said Tuesday that dealers from Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun will be among the 13 people arrested in coming days. Warrants are prepared and suspects are being given the opportunity to turn themselves in, police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said.

“Investigators are reaching out to all involved to give them a chance to surrender,” Vance said.

The group is alleged to have participated in a scam straight out of the movies — complete with code names such as “Strawberry Daiquiri” — to identify participating players and clandestine meetings where dealers collected their payoffs.

An investigation by the state police casino unit revealed some dealers were being paid in exchange for allowing late bets at their craps tables.

Craps is a dice game in which players place chips on spots on the table, anticipating the roll of the dice. Players who were in on the scam, called “shot takers,” would push in gaming chips to make a late bet when the dice already had been thrown and the outcome known by the dealer. The player would win money and later pay the dealer for his trouble, police said.

Taylor and former Foxwoods dealer Mattie Tarlton, 42, of New London were the first arrested, when a tip by a Foxwoods employee in December prompted an investigation.

Casino surveillance looked back at Tarlton’s work during the preceding month to find overpayments totaling nearly $60,000 between Nov. 24 and Dec. 8.

Going on for years:

A widening investigation turned up dealer after dealer who admitted to taking part in the scam, some who claim it has been going on for years, according to the arrest affidavit by state police Detective Richard Bedard.

The casino employees included floor managers and employees working surveillance and scheduling, according to one dealer.

Tarlton denied any involvement with Taylor, but admitted she knew him as a man who entered the casino like a “superstar,” tipping waitresses between $100 and $1,500. Other dealers have admitted to taking hundreds of dollars in payoffs from Taylor for allowing the late bets.

While the total cost to the casinos is unknown, police said they have documented evidence that shows Taylor’s “cheating enterprise” was responsible for $69,965 in casino losses.

Taylor has denied the charges and his defense attorney, Martin Schoepfer, said it would be inappropriate to comment so early in the case.

Representatives from Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

What’s next: State police said Tuesday they expect a total of 15 arrests in connection with a cheating scam at craps tables at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.