11 defendants accused of conspiracy to cheat a tribal casinos

11 defendants accused of conspiracy to cheat a dozen tribal casinos across the country were indicted by a federal grand jury in San Diego, California this week according to federal government website postings.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Matthew Friedrich and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Karen P. Hewitt announced the unsealing of the indictment, naming: Bryan Arce; Don Man Duong; Hogan Ho; Thang Viet Huynh; Outtama Keovongsa; Leap Kong, a/k/a "Lanida Kong;" Qua Le; Khunsela Prom, a/k/a "Danny Prom;" James Root; Darrell Saicocie; and Dan Thich each with one count of conspiracy to commit several offences against the United States, including conspiracy to steal money and other property from Indian tribal casinos, and conspiracy to travel in interstate and foreign commerce in aid of racketeering.

According to the indictment, from approximately March 2002 through July 2007 the defendants and co-conspirators are alleged to have formed and participated in a conspiracy, defined in the indictment as the "Tran Organization," to cheat at gambling in casinos across the United States. The indictment lists 12 casinos that were allegedly targeted by members of the conspiracy, including five casinos that are owned and operated by Indian tribes.

According to the indictment, the defendants and others executed a "false shuffle" cheating scheme at some of the listed casinos during blackjack and mini-baccarat games. The indictment alleges that members of the criminal organisation bribed casino card dealers and supervisors to perform false shuffles during card games, thereby creating "slugs" of un-shuffled cards.

After tracking the order of cards dealt in a card game, a member of the organisation would signal to the card dealer to perform a "false shuffle," and then members of the group would bet on the known order of cards when the slug appeared on the table. By doing so, the indictment alleges that members of the conspiracy repeatedly won thousands of dollars during card games.

It is also alleged that members of the organisation used sophisticated mechanisms for tracking the order of cards during games, including hidden transmitter devices and specially created software that would predict the order in which cards would reappear during baccarat and blackjack games.

If convicted on the conspiracy charge, defendants face a maximum five year prison sentence.

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