Saturday, November 06, 2010

Confessed Roulette Cheat Sahami Gets Ten and a Half Months in UK Jail

Bahram Sahami's lawyer presented his client as a desperate Iranian man seeking asylum for the terror in Iran, claiming Sahami is a dental technician who entered the UK in 1999 after fleeing Iran soon after his brother was killed by the government.

Sahami did spend time in an Iranian prison before he left the country. He quickly applied for asylum in England but his application was denied and so was a 2006 appeal. The lawyer, Andrew Hope, told the court that Sahami became a gambling addict out of desperation and blew all the money from the sale of his house in Iran before turning to casino cheating to try and recover the funds.

The prosecutor, Nicola Merrick, had a different view of Sahami, saying he was skilled at sleight of hand tactics to cheat the casinos. She even described him as a "slippery customer." She then reminded the court that when the police showed Sahami video of him doing the cheat moves at the Gala casino, the defendant denied it was him on tape. He steadfastly denied all charges before changing his plea to guilty in October.

The judge, Peter Testar, addressed Sahami with "It seems to me that you were an accomplished and determined cheat, as what the CCTV from the casino in Baker Street showed was you cheating in four or five different ways during the course of a limited period of time." He then gave him ten and a half months in jail, a relatively light sentence as I had suspected. UK justice is soft on casino cheats.

The fact that Sahami used several false identites to continue entering casinos to apply his cheating talents did not appear to weigh in on the sentencing.