Friday, September 02, 2011

Canadian Reservation Blackjack Flashing Hole-Card Cheat Scam Called "Stupid" But Still Netted Nearly a Hundred Grand Before Tanking Out

The Asians involved in this dealer/player inside casino cheat scam may not have been as sharp as the Tran Organization, which also specialized in cheating Canadian casinos, but they still managed to cheat their target casino out of nearly a $100, spite of being called stupid by the judge who accepted the cheats plea bargains.


A Chinese immigrant who cheated at the Golden Eagle Casino says he didn't know why the dealer initiated the three-month-long scam.

Xiajun "Jim" Zhuang, 32, pleaded not guilty to cheating at play, but guilty to the lesser included offence of theft under $5,000, for knowingly cheating the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority of $1,500 between October 2008 and January 2009.

He was sentenced Monday to a conditional discharge that will spare him a criminal record after he completes five months on probation and repays the stolen money.

Zhuang was one of several customers who benefitted from a crooked dealer who is alleged to have cheated the casino of $86,000 between August 2008 and January 2009, Crown prosecutor Mitch Piche told Judge David Kaiser.

The dealer was seen on surveillance video flashing cards at players, offering insurance to Blackjack players after looking at cards and seeing the player would lose and letting players know when they would win so they could increase their bets, Piche said.

Zhuang was an experienced gambler who knew how to benefit from the dealer's practices.

He was "pushy and persistent," but less culpable than the dealer, Piche said.

Defence lawyer Wei Woo, who appeared by telephone, said his client is a landed immigrant with limited English.

The dealer did not take any profit for himself and Zhuang didn't know why the dealer offered him the opportunities to cheat, Woo said.

Woo blamed the casino for causing the problem, saying it did not appropriately monitor its dealer, who drew players into the offences.

His client showed "stupidity as a new immigrant" by participating in the theft, Woo said.

The conditional discharge is important to Zhuang, who would be at risk of deportation if he incurred a criminal record, Woo said.

Woo said the Crown's suggestion of an eight-month probation was too harsh since his client has agreed to repay the $1,500 and has lost more than $20,000 to the casino.

Kaiser sentenced Zhuang to five months probation, ordered he pay restitution and not go into any SIGA casinos.

Two other players were sentenced last month for participating in the scams. Reuben Ian Bear was sentenced to 12 months on probation for theft and ordered to pay $1,250 restitution. Wade Wang, who had no criminal record, pleaded guilty to cheating at play and was granted a conditional discharge of 12 months on probation and immediately repaid the $2,500 he had taken. Co-accused Christopher Stone-Spyglass and Ken Mark return to court Sept. 28.