Thursday, April 08, 2010

Tran Organization Blackjack Dealer Gets Light Sentence For Ripping Off Mohegan Sun


A U.S. District judge sentenced former Mohegan Sun table games dealer Jesus Rodriguez Wednesday to two months in federal prison and three years' supervised release for participating in a card cheating scam operated in Connecticut and throughout the country by the San Diego-based Tran Organization.

Judge Mark R. Kravitz also ordered Rodriguez and others involved to re-pay the casino $126,000. The 40-year-old Groton man had admitted to being recruited by the organization, getting coached on performing "false shuffles" and helping the organization to steal more than $100,000 from the Uncasville casino in blackjack and baccarat games. He performed the false shuffle two or three times and was paid $2,500 to $4,000 each time, according to a court document.

Through the scheme, a co-conspirator tracked the order of cards as they were legitimately played, and then Rodriguez performed a false shuffle, creating a "slug" of un-shuffled cards. A co-conspirator tracked the cards until the slug reappeared as they were being dealt, then signaled to others as to how to bet on the subsequent hands in order to cheat the casino.

More than 30 people nationwide have been charged in an investigation led by Department of Justice Criminal Division's Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. The cheating schemes occurred at more than two dozen casinos in the United States and Canada. Rodriguez had faced a lengthier sentence under federal guidelines. His attorney, Jeremiah Donovan, argued for a reduction, citing Rodriguez's prior lack of a criminal record and his history as a hard-working, law-abiding citizen. Each false shuffle lasted about 10 seconds, Donovan noted, "So the length of Mr. Rodriguez's overt activity in furtherance of the conspiracy was thus about 30 seconds."

Rodriguez, who had worked at the casino since 2001, resigned in 2009 after hearing he would be indicted.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. McGarry argued Rodriguez's actions hurt the casino owners and employees as well as the state of Connecticut, which receives a portion of the casino's revenues.