Friday, August 03, 2012

MIT Students Scam Massachusetts State Lottery For $8 Million! It's the MIT Blackjack Team Revisited!

We all know the original MIT story oh so well. The eager bright genius students from MIT beating Vegas and Atlantic City for millions counting cards at blackjack.

Well, this time, the MIT genius brats only had to stay in their home state to get the millions. News has just broke that they cheated the Massachusetts state lottery for $8 million! That might be more than the MIT Blackjack Team made!

Here's the NY Daily News article:

Ten years after a group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology students and a professor famously took Las Vegas casinos to the cleaners counting cards, a new gambling scandal has arisen that involves MIT: a researcher and a group of students scammed the Massachussets Lottery.

Worse though, is that the Massachusetts Lottery knew they were doing it and chose to share in the windfall instead of protecting the integrity of the game.

The math whizzes were looking for a unique school project when a couple of them figured out that it would only take about $100,000 in tickets to guarantee success in the Cash WinFall game. When the jackpot rose to $2 million or more, group members bought in and shared in the prize money. By 2005, the group had earned about $8 million in winnings, reported the Boston Globe.

Despite an obvious conflict of interest in knowing that the game was compromised, officials continued to allow hundreds of thousands of $2 tickets to be bought by the merry band of thieves, the paper reported.

Here's how the scheme worked: If the jackpot in a lottery game isn't won, it usually is held over to the next drawing, creating a larger jackpot. In Cash WinFall the jackpot was capped at $2 million. When no one matched all the numbers, the jackpot would be redistributed - "rolled down" to make lesser prizes 5 to 10 times greater than usual, reported the Globe.

The game was so lucrative for the students, that they gave up jobs to stick it to the system on a full-time basis. Additionally, they were backed by investors who shared in the profits, according to a report by State Inspector General Gregory Sullivan cited by the paper.

Buying $600,000 worth of tickets virtually guaranteed a 15-20 percent return on investment. The initial premise was proven by James Harvey, who turned $1,000 in tickets into $3,000 Feb. 7, 2005. He immediately made the "project" larger, forming Random Strategies Investments and spending hours filling out betting slips and lining up eager financers. Within a few years, more groups popped up, but the MIT group figured out how to win the whole jackpot in a single drawing by 2010, reported the paper.

In an email discovered by the paper, a lottery supervisor shamelessly asks ""How do I become part of the club when I retire?"

My take: In an institution where you have geniuses you have genius gambling scams! This one is reminiscent of the huge horse-betting scam that hit New York racetracks for about the same amount of money some years back.

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Crooked Surveillance Operator Goes Down in Singapore Casino Cheating Case!

Source: An army specialist has been sentenced to two years' jail for conspiring with four accomplices to cheat Marina Bay Sands of nearly S$150,000 between July and August last year.Toh Kaida, 29, who was suspended by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), had admitted earlier this month to 19 charges of cheating.The prosecution proceeded on five charges.

Court documents showed that the mastermind was Ho Boon Keat, 29, who was then working at the casino as a surveillance operator. Ho's accomplices would stake out at the tables of the game, Sic Bo, when he was on duty. Siic Bo is a game where three dice are rolled and gamblers can win up to 180 times their bet if all the dice display the same number. Then an accomplice would claim to have placed a bet of S$25 after a triple appeared. The pit manager would call Ho to check video footage for confirmation and Ho would lie and say the bet had been placed.

In mitigation, defence counsel for Toh, Mr Josephus Tan, said his client had made restitution of S$10,000 to the casino. The amount was Toh's share of the criminal proceeds. So ar, three other accomplices have been dealt with. Ho was sentenced to three years' jail, 28-year-old Ang Chee Peng received a jail term of two-and-a-half years while 25-year-old Benson Ho received a jail sentence of one year and two months.

My take: Singapore's casinos continue to bet hit with massive casino cheat scams engineered by employees. I can only wonder how much money is being pilfered out of them that we don't hear about!