Thursday, January 19, 2012

Canadian Casino Dealer Using False-Shuffle Cheat Scam in Blackjack and Baccarat Faces Prison Time---IF He Doesn't Come Up With Restitution Cash


If Christopher Stone-Spyglass doesn't come up with a chunk of cash by mid-April, he may have to spend some time behind bars for helping more than six card players cheat the Gold Eagle Casino in 2008 and 2009.

At a hearing in provincial court Wednesday, Judge Violet Meekma told the former blackjack and poker dealer she's unlikely to give him a conditional sentence for his central role in the months long scam unless he makes a significant, upfront restitution payment to the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA), which owns the casino.

Five of the six gamblers who were charged last year alongside Stone-Spyglass following lengthy investigations by SIGA and the RCMP have already pleaded guilty to theft or cheating at play. All of them paid restitution and avoided incarceration with conditional sentences or probation. One player is still before the courts.

Stone-Spyglass started giving unfair advantages to various players - not all of whom have been identified - within a few months after SIGA hired and trained him as a dealer in 2008, Crown prosecutor Mitch Piche told Meekma.

The dealer used several methods, such as falsely shuffling cards and dealing them in a set order so that "wins were virtually guaranteed," Piche said.

He also flashed cards at blackjack players, eliminating the element of chance to their benefit, and allowed them to withdraw money from the table after placing bets if the cards were not in their favour, court heard.

The players simply took advantage of Stone-Spyglass's activities, and are seen as less culpable than him, Piche said.

The only way the dealer personally profited was when he repeatedly passed $100 chips to a player by concealing them under $5 chips - a direct method of theft that cost the casino $6,000. Stone-Spyglass pocketed half of that money, but otherwise he "appears not to have been motivated by personal remuneration in any way," Piche said.

The casino lost about $20,000 as a result of the scheme, which lasted until January, 2009 and was caught on tape by surveillance cameras, he said.

Piche told Meekma the Crown takes no position on whether or not Stone-Spyglass should be incarcerated or receive a conditional sentence for stealing from his employer.

If he's sent to jail, a 12-month term would be appropriate, but if he's allowed to serve his time in the community it should be 18 months with a curfew, Piche argued, adding Stone-Spyglass should also be ordered to repay $12,600 in monthly instalments.

Defence lawyer Randy Kirkham said Stone-Spyglass supports a wife and three children. He has a steady employment record, but was recently laid off from a job and is now waiting to start work in Fort McMurray, Alberta, which leaves him temporarily cash-strapped, Kirkham said. He expects a sizable income tax refund this year and may also be able to get a loan for an upfront payment before he returns to court for Meekma's sentencing decision in April, court heard.

Kirkham noted his client cooperated fully with SIGA and RCMP investigators from the start of their investigations and gave them all the information they needed. "Personal and family issues" made Stone-Spyglass want to stop working as a dealer for the casino in the fall of 2008, and he sought career counselling from SIGA's human resources department, but was ordered to continue in the job, Kirkham said, telling Meekma the cheating activity was a "foolhardy way of trying to get himself terminated."

My take: The real danger here is that the desperate dealer might resort to more casino cheating scams to obtain the cash needed to avoid prison time in connection with this casino-cheat scam.

New RICO Complaint Filed Against


High-stakes poker players claim that UltimateBet stole $20 million from "crooked" online poker games by exploiting security flaws that allowed others - or the website and its operators themselves - to see players' hole cards.
In the federal RICO complaint, eight named plaintiffs claim they lost $2 million in the rigged games. Lead plaintiff Daniel Ashman says the cheating scandal has "been the subject of intense public interest and scrutiny."
Named as defendants are the online poker and gambling website operator, 6356095 Canada Inc. aka Excapsa Software, and 10 John Does.
The complaint states: "UltimateBet (aka is an online poker and gambling website that has and continues to serve players in the United States. 6356095 Canada, Inc. (formerly Excapsa Software, Inc. or 'Excapsa') and Does 1-10 are holding companies, licensing entities, marketing companies, software firms, and individuals organized in or residing in jurisdictions throughout the world that developed software for and/or operated UltimateBet by and through which owners of Excapsa sought to direct and shield its illegal and fraudulent activities from courts, police, and tax authorities. Individual Doe defendants are owners, operators, officers, employees, and/or agents of Excapsa. While UltimateBet is not itself a legal entity, it is the vehicle through which defendants operated various conspiracies to defraud plaintiffs and the broader public.
"Since at least June 2003 and until at least January 2008 Excapsa/UltimateBet did conspire to and did direct, effect, and permit the theft of over $2 million held in plaintiffs' online poker accounts at Specifically, by creating and making use of an intentional a security flaw in the software, and with the assistance of owners, agents, and employees of Excapsa and its various subsidiaries that operated UltimateBet, defendants either allowed others to or did directly view plaintiffs 'hole cards' during high-stakes poker matches run at
"With the assistance of owners, operators, officers, employees, and/or agents of Excapsa and its subsidiaries, the cheaters were further able to change their online identities to avoid detection and to improperly funnel their illicit proceeds through various UltimateBet accounts in a manner that would have been impossible without insider assistance. Through these activities, defendants stole or caused to be stolen at least 20 million dollars from plaintiffs and other high-stakes poker players at games run by UltimateBet."
The named plaintiffs come from five U.S. states, one Canadian province, and Peru. "At this time, plaintiffs suspect but do not know the identities of Does 1-10," the complaint states. "Evidence, some of which is discussed below, has arisen that some of the founders and management of UltimateBet and Excapsa, including Greg Pierson, Jon Karl, Jack Bates, Russ Hamilton, and others who formerly operated (and may continue to be involved in the operation of) UltimateBet were likely aware of or involved the conspiracy to cheat players. However, because the identities and activities of UltimateBet and those who have profited from its operations has been intentionally shielded though numerous agents, subsidiaries, and foreign corporations, it will be necessary to conduct significant discovery before a complete list of defendants can be identified. After such discovery, plaintiffs will seek to amend the complaint to add additional defendants."
In "the online poker cheating scandal," the complaint continues, "plaintiffs and other high-stakes online poker players were cheated out of millions of dollars in crooked online poker games where their opponents (employees, agents, owners, and/or officers of Excapsa/UltimateBet) had illicit access to players 'hole' cards. Plaintiffs unknowingly played games of high-stakes poker with their cards essentially face-up. The facts underlying the case have already been the subject of intense public interest and media scrutiny, including a feature story on 60 Minutes, an investigative series by the Washington Post, a feature article by MSNBC, and hundreds of articles and news reports across the Internet."
The plaintiffs say that UltimateBet has a "history, ownership, and business structure" that is "cloaked in layers of obscurity as a result of intentional efforts by the individuals profiting from the enterprise to avoid scrutiny. This is hardly surprising as the prospect of criminal prosecution under the Wire Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1084, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, 18 USC 1955, RICO, 18 U.S.C. § 1961, et seq., and similar statutes has haunted operators of Internet gambling sites from their inception. In 2011, a Grand Jury in the Southern District of New York returned an indictment against the current owners of UltimateBet (Scott Tom and Brent Backley) and owners of other online poker rooms for violation of these and other federal statutes.
"At the same time, Excapsa Services Inc. has suffered no harm, either due to the nature of its operations (often conducted through various and sundry foreign subsidiaries) or the cheating that took place while it owned and operated UltimateBet. Instead, since 2006, when it 'sold' UltimateBet (via the sale of various operating subsidiaries) to Tokwiro Enterprises in what appears to be a related-party transaction, Excapsa has been involved in liquidation proceedings in Toronto, Canada. As part of these proceedings, the assets (mainly cash from operations and from the sale) are being disbursed in an orderly manner to Excapsa's shareholders, which include individuals who knew of and participated in the high stakes poker cheating."
The complaint claims that "a related cheating scandal that took place at UltimateBet's sister site Absolute Poker. UltimateBet and Absolute Poker are now operated by the same holding company, Tokwiro Enterprises, allegedly a Mohawk sole proprietorship owned by the Joseph Norton, the former Grand Chief of the Kahnawake Tribe, which operates the KGC [Kahnawake Gaming Commission]."
The complaint cites a transcript from the "60 Minutes" report, broadcast in November 2008, which states: "The virtual poker games are actually run on computers servers from a Canadian Indian reservation outside of Montreal. It's all licensed by the sovereign tribe of the Mohawk nation, which has no experience in casino gambling and doesn't have to answer to Canadian authorities.
"The [current] grand chief is Mike Delisle.
"Chief Delisle says Internet gambling is illegal in Canada, but tells ['60 Minutes' reporter Steve] Kroft, 'We're not Canadians. We're a member of the Haudenosaunee Five Nation Confederacy. And we're Mohawk Kahnawake people. We're not
"And that legal distinction has allowed the Kahnawakes to rake in millions of dollars a year by licensing Internet gaming sites and housing their computer servers on the reservation. They now register and service more than 60 percent of the world's Internet gaming activity from a highly protected and nondescript building that used to be a mattress factory."
The plaintiffs continues, in their 42-page complaint: "KGC, the regulatory body to which UltimateBet claims to answer, is part of a self-proclaimed sovereign entity located on a few square miles just across the St. Lawrence River from metropolitan Montreal. The Canadian government has had a history of tense, even violent, relations with the Kahnawake Tribe, who are notorious for cigarette and gun smuggling. The Canadian Government considers the licensing and regulatory activities of the KGC to be illegal." (Footnotes omitted.)
The plaintiffs say that they uncovered the cheating by sharing information at the online poker forum,
In the complaint, they claim they identified a player who they suspected was a "superuser" who could see their cards, and other unknown players they suspected of cheating.
"Members of the forums discovered, among other things, that certain accounts with highly improbable win rates often logged on to UltimateBet right after a similarly suspicious account had logged off. Also, many of the suspicious players simply disappeared, never to return, after booking huge wins at high-stakes games, an extremely unusual pattern of activity. Finally, the high-stakes online poker community is relatively small and many high-stakes players know one another from their hundreds of hours of play together, from discussing poker strategy online, and from meeting at live events, such as the annual World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. However, no one had an information about the real world players behind the suspect UltimateBet accounts," the complaint states.
The players say that Tokwiro admitted, in a May 29, 2009 press release, that six player accounts had been cheating, listed 18 account names that "participated in this scheme," and offered refunds.
The complaint states: "UltimateBet has admitted that at least six accounts (presumably six separate individuals), some or all of which belonged to employees and/or owners of Excapsa Software, Inc., used a software vulnerability to steal millions of dollars from players on its site. However, UltimateBet did not then and to this day has not released the names of any individual other than Russ Hamilton, a former World Series of Poker Winner, early manager/employee of UltimateBet, and shareholder of Excapsa, on who UltimateBet has sought to pin the exclusive blame.
"However, given the nature of the security breach (which is essentially built in to the underlying software) and UltimateBet's willingness to protect the identities of the cheaters, it is likely that the cheaters were high-level members of UltimateBet's management and/or software engineering team, and/or its founders and original programmers, as only such individuals could create and exploit the software loophole, frequently change the names of cheating accounts to avoid suspicion, and bypass security measures designed to prevent the cash out of illegitimate winnings. Statements from insiders at UltimateBet have corroborated these suspicions."
The plaintiffs add that the refunds UltimateBet offered also have been shrouded in secrecy: "While UltimateBet has provided 'refunds' to certain players, it has largely kept its methodology for doing so secret. Moreover, it has refused to publicly release or even send affected players hand histories from the compromised games, so that they might determine the accuracy of the refunds; it has refused to provide a full account of its investigation, so that players can examine whether the list of fraudulent accounts is complete; it has not addressed the role of cheating accounts in other poker games, such as high-stakes tournaments or high-stakes limit (as opposed to no-limit) games; and it has refused to compensate players for lost interest, lost profits, emotional distress, or any other form of damages. In short, UltimateBet has acted as its own investigator, judge, and jury in this matter and has stifled any public scrutiny of its 'investigation.' ... Cheated players are bringing this action because they believe that only a public and impartial tribunal can accurately determine the full scope of the cheating and the identities of the individuals behind it."
Finally, the plaintiffs say: "Under federal and state law, the affected players have a right to learn the truth of who cheated them, how they were cheated, and to receive appropriate redress for their injuries. UltimateBet should not be allowed to control the investigation into its fraudulent activities and to set the terms of any penalty unilaterally."
The players seek an injunction and damages for RICO conspiracy, conversion, interference with prospective economic advantage, intentional infliction of emotional distress, unfair business practices, fraud and negligence.
They are represented by Alan Engle with Meador & Engle, of Anaheim Hills.

My Take: I don't think this huge online poker cheating cheat scam will ever go away...and it shouldn't, just to serve as a reminder of what can happen in the nefarious world of online poker and online gambling in general.

Cheat Casinos in Cambodia...Risk Getting Your Fingers Cut Off!!!


Cambodia casinos have taken a tough stance on dead beat players who fail to repay loans or gangs of cheaters who plagues the casinos throughout the world.
According to casino gambling news, Ms. Vo Thi Biet of got the shock of her life after finding a chopped of finger after signing for an express delivery parcel at her home in Vietnam.

What nearly made the elderly lady give up the ghost was that the finger belonged to her 23 year old son – who went with friends on a gambling trip to neighboring Cambodia a few days earlier. The package contained a note urging the mother to pay US $3,500 that her son borrowed and lost at a Cambodia casino and attempted to sneak out of the country without first covering his debt.

”They said my son’s friends left him as collateral with the loan shark and that my son escaped and was punished. His friends left him and never returned and there is no one but me to repay for his baccarat and blackjack card games loses at a Cambodia casino,” explained the distraught mother.

Luckily for her dummy of a son, his mother decided that he was worth saving. Just a few days later, Ms. Biet gave a thick wad of currency to a local agent of the Cambodia casino loan shark and soon her son, her wayward son was safely at home. The son claimed that he was captured with several others who escaped from the loan shark and everyone either lost a finger or an ear.

Cheater Feels the Pain at a Cambodian Casino
The chopped off finger and tales of mutilation and torture involving a Cambodian casino are not as rare as one may think. A few months earlier, a female Thai national, Mrs. C., was found dead at a border Cambodian casino.

A cleaning girl discovered the Thai national’s body inside her casino suite covered in thin razor cuts and cigarette burn marks strapped to a chair with fishing line and a plastic bag tightly wrapped around her head. Evidence of prolonged torture was unmistakable.

Police indicate that at least 3 million Thai Bhatt ($200,000 US) that the woman won during the previous days was missing. This is when the case took a strange twist when the dead woman’s Thai passport was determined to be a forgery.

Local police indicated that they were shown casino security tapes where the dead woman was seen wearing an electronic cheating device to win close to a quarter million US dollars at the Cambodia casino with the help of a local Cambodian blackjack dealer.

When police arrived at the blackjack dealer home, they were informed by neighbors that on the night of the murder they heard multiple motorbikes and cars enter and leave the residence throughout the night and in the morning their neighbor was gone.

Police were unable to interview or locate the blackjack dealer boyfriend, finding his home deserted with only a note to indicate that the man was distraught and planed to jump in a nearby lake to end his life. Authorities ruled both deaths as aggravated suicides.

Cambodia Casino Accepts Children as Collateral
Another recent event involved the 13-year-old daughter of a deranged gambler who apparently left the girl as a form of collateral at a Cambodia casino to cover his nearly US $5,000 debt. The grandparents of the girl received a call from a Cambodian casino loan shark threatening to sell their granddaughter to a Thai pimp to work the many whorehouses of Bangkok unless the gambling debts were paid.

The family had no option but to pay back the debt with interest. The father of the 13 year old girl hasn’t been found.

According to casino insiders, the recent incidents at Cambodian casinos were calculated acts aimed specifically at foreign gangs of professional casino hustlers and cheats who plague gambling destination throughout the world. Statistics show that tourists have little to worry about gambling at Cambodia casinos and millions flock each year to see the sights and enjoy themselves without problems.

However, those who enter a Cambodian casinos with the intent to cheat or escape loan repayment may find themselves in a world of problems to say the least. There is no need to be concerned, since there is always a foreign based online casino in Cambodia instead.

My take: If you gotta go to Cambodia, that's bad enough...if you gotta go to Cambodia to cheat casinos, that's even worse!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dirty Dozen Cheats Nabbed in Panaji Casino!

Where is Panaji?

What the heck do I know, but I will guess it is some island off the coast of India???

In any case, the cops there busted a cheat gang consisting of twelve people, two of whom are women. Now get this!!!...Their total take was 39.19 lakh LOL at least twice!

What the heck is lakh?

Well, I guess it's some kind of currency unit.

How much is 39.19 lakh in US dollars, British Pounds or Euros?

Beats me, but I doubt it's much! LOL

This was a credit card fraud where the Dirty Dozen swapped fraudulent credit cards to obtain gambling chips that they cashed out. It happened at a casino called the Casino Pride.

My take: Heck, I don't even know why I am writing about this, but I think I wrote about a casino cheat or poker cheat scam in Panaji before (I am not sure, how could I be?), and if I do remember right, it was another rinky-dink cheat scam for about the same amount of lakh...It did give me a good laugh, however.

Poker Cheat Nabbed in Pennsylvania Casino!

Source: Lehigh Valley Live

A 46-year-old Phillipsburg man cheated at least 15 times in December during three trips to the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, Pennsylvania State Police report.

Paul E. Catanio, of the 300 block of Thomas Street, profited $540 from sleight of hand tricks, police said. Catanio often doubled his initial bet after being dealt cards, a violation of game rules, according to court papers.

The move worked 13 of the 15 times he tried it, police said. On his last trip to the casino, Dec. 11, police and casino personnel confronted him after suspecting him of cheating, and he agreed to pay $40 restitution, police said. He was also ejected from the casino, according to court papers.

Casino personnel reviewed Catanio's December visits and found additional instances of cheating, police said, and concluded Catanio profited $500 during those visits. Police said Catanio played poker at the casino more than 30 times since August, but the casino only keeps a seven-day log of video records. Catanio was charged with prohibited acts and theft by deception. He was released on $20,000 unsecured bail.