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Tai Khiem Tran, Thirteen Others Plead Guilty on Casino Card Gaming Cheating Services

On March 9th, 2009, the FBI said that a leader of a racketeering group that allegedly swindled seven Indian casinos on card games in the state of California and Canada pleaded guilty for his role on the issue. 47 year old Tai Khiem Tran, pleaded guilty before the San Diego Federal Court on charges of plotting to participate in the swindling case with the group known as the Tran Organization. State prosecutors described a sophisticated cheating technique that included card tracking technology and gaming software that guessed the order in which the cards being given out would appear.

Tran and thirteen other suspects allegedly bribed dealers to perform false card shuffles during card games like mini-baccarat. The members of the organization signaled to the dealer to make a group of unmixed cards. The members of the organization would then wager on the predetermined order of cards as the unmixed group of cards appeared on the table with the help of the card tracking technology. Members won thousands of dollars including one member who won $868,000. Some of the casinos that were targeted by the group include some of the biggest casino facilities in southern California like the Barona Casino, Penchanga Casino, Sycuan Casino and the Agua Caliente casino.

It also targeted the casino managed by the Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians and the Casino Rama in Ontario, Canada. Tran admitted that he participated in the cheating scandal with his co-defendants between August 2002 and June 2005. The 2007 indictment of Tran and thirteen other suspects charged them with conspiracy to participate in a racketeering activity, commit numerous offenses against the United States, stealing money from Indian casino facilities and money laundering. Tran faces a twenty year prison sentence and agreed to pay a total of $823,612.

Tran's house in San Diego, California, a 2006 Mercedes Benz model and different pieces of jewelry could pay for that amount. Tran's sentencing is on July 13th, 2009 in San Diego. He is also facing charges in Canada. Another indictment has charged eleven other suspects of conspiring to casino card game cheating on behalf of the Tran group.

To date, around 26 suspects, including Tran, have pleaded guilty to the casino card gaming cheating charges in 24 Indian casinos during the course of their operation. The FBI and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service is still working on the casino card game cheating case.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Kate Foster

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