Saturday, July 25, 2009

No Dice For 10 Years For Convicted Craps Cheat!

That´s what a Connecticut judge told Mr. Richard (Mr. Cool) Taylor at his sentencing hearing yesterday. Well, I don't entirely agree with the judge because Taylor will surely find some craps games in state prison, but he will have to play without the hot babes on his arms, and surely without cheating. You can bet your ass his fellow jailbirds will be watching him like a hawk around the prison makeshift craps table, which will probably be a dirt pit in the prison yard and not one of those miniature craps tables you can by in novelty stores that the prosecution brought into the courtroom during Taylor´s trial. In any event, Taylor got more prison time for his little $70,000 2-casino scam than those so far sentenced in the Tran Organization baccarat scam that netted $20 million in fifteen casinos over five years. I guess his attitude in the courtroom didn't help him much.

Here's a newspaper account of the events:

Richard “Mr. Casino” Taylor proclaimed himself “the best dice player in the world” and declared his innocence just minutes before he was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison for masterminding a craps cheating conspiracy that cost Foxwoods Resort Casino an estimated $70,000 and ruined the careers of a dozen employees.

A New London jury found Taylor guilty in May of cheating, conspiracy to commit cheating, first-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny. It was the first major cheating trial in the state that plays host to two of the world's largest casinos. According to court testimony, Taylor had recruited dealers who were willing to pay players for late or illegal bets, then met up with the casino employees outside the casino to pay them for their services. The scam involved a dozen employees, including dealers and managers.

Taylor maintained his confident attitude and his innocence to the end, strutting into the courtroom in his prison tans in the same manner that dealers testifying at the trial had described him walking up to craps tables with large amounts of money and women on his arms. He said the former Foxwoods employees were liars. In taking his case to trial, the 43-year-old Memphis, Tenn., resident had rejected the state's offer to plead guilty in exchange for a four-year prison sentence.

”Yes, I played at the casino,” he said. “I won and I lost. I am the best dice player in the world, period. And I do not cheat.” In anticipation of sentencing, Taylor's supporters had sent letters to the court on his behalf that his troubles were the result of a gambling addiction. ”Mr. Taylor, your family and friends and neighbors call it an addiction,” said Judge Stuart M. Schimelman. “I call it arrogance, because in the course of this trial, you made it clear to me and the jury that it's everyone's fault but your own.” This was not a victimless crime, Schimelman said. He listed among the victims the casino, the tribal entity that owns it and the citizens of Connecticut. ”Mr. Taylor made it clear that not only did he think he could beat a legal gambling system by cheating but he could beat the judicial system as well,” Schimelman said.

During the trial, Taylor claimed he had a winning system for craps and did not need to cheat. Prosecutors Stephen M. Carney and David J. Smith had called a craps expert to debunk his claim and had set up a makeshift craps layout in the courtroom to demonstrate the game. The case was important to the operators of Foxwoods Resort Casino, who were watching to see how the state, which has criminal jurisdiction over the casino, would handle the case, and were hoping a message would be sent to prospective cheaters.

Jeffrey DeClerck, inspector general of the casino, and other executives were pleased with the outcome and immediately began making cell phone calls to tribal officials and regulators in other jurisdictions. Taylor had been charged with cheating elsewhere but had never been convicted. ”We think it should be well known that Connecticut is very willing to pursue these charges so people who would pursue these activities do not come here,” said Carney, the prosecutor.

Taylor plans to appeal his sentence of 13 years in prison, suspended after 10 years served, and three years probation. The judge set a $350,000 appeal bond, meaning Taylor would have to post that amount in order to get out of prison while his appeal is pending. Schimelman ordered Taylor to undergo gambling treatment while on probation and said he would be banned from casinos everywhere and from Internet gambling.

Now that this portion of Taylor's case has been resolved, the state will begin discussing resolution of the former employees' cases. Taylor still faces other charges in connection with alleged cheating at Mohegan Sun. Defense attorney Ralph U. Bergman told the judge Friday that he wants to withdraw from representing Taylor. Schimelman told Bergman to take it up with Judge Susan B. Handy, who will be handling the pretrial portion of the new case.