Criminal Conviction for Co-Founder of Casino-Cheating Ring 08.10.2012

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In January of 2011, Van Thu Tran, a 47 year-old woman, along with 13 others pled guilty to three federal crimes inclusing: conspiracy to participate in the affairs of a racketeering enterprise, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit offenses against the US. Van and her co-conspirators started up a San Diego based company called the Tran Organization which was a front to cover their gambling cheating habits in which they unlawfully obtained nearly $7 million.

The cheating scheme that Tran set up is called a “false shuffle” and took place at nearly 30 casino blackjack and mini-baccarat tables across the United States and Canada. Members of the Tran Organization bribed casino staff including pit bosses and card dealers to false shuffle decks which allowed Tran and other players to easily track cards and wager big bets when they could predict the order of the cards. Some of those convicted confessed that the group used sophisticated methods to track the cards including transmitter devices and computer software.

So far, 42 individuals have pled guilty to being associated with the scheme. Tran was sentenced last week to spend 36 months in a federal prison and upon release have 3 years of supervised release and was required to pay restitution in the amount of $5,753,416 to a number of casinos that she cheated. In order to pay this amount, the court seized jewelry from Tran and the money in her existing bank accounts.

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