Posted on: April 4, 2022, 06:13h.
Last updated on: April 4, 2022, 06:13h.
A husband-and-wife duo will be spending about eight months in jail for a California theft scheme during baccarat games at Parkwest Casino 580. They also must pay back $507,600 in restitution.
Following their release from incarceration, Eric Nguyen and Khanh “Tina” Tran will also be placed on supervised probation for two years, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced last week.
The illicit scheme took place at the Livermore, Calif. gaming property between 2015 and 2017. Tran was a dealer at Casino 580.
Originally, Bonta claimed the duo stole about $4 million in the cheating scheme while playing EZ Baccarat Panda 8.
Texted Card Sequence
An investigation revealed that Tran allegedly peeked at the sequence of cards after shuffling. She then conveyed the card sequence to Nguyen using text messages before she left the gaming table, Bonta said.
Nguyen played at the table and began to bet after spotting the sequence of cards, Bonta added. Nguyen was a professional gambler and former employee at Casino 580, according to court documents.
The case was investigated by agents from the California Department of Justice’s Division of Law Enforcement.
The couple was later apprehended on May 6, 2020 while in Texas. Recently, they pleaded guilty to felony grand theft. In 2020, the couple was also charged with conspiracy to commit grand theft.
Breaking the law is never the right way to get ahead,” Bonta said in a statement. “We will not tolerate criminal activity in our state. Today’s announcement holds accountable Nguyen and Tran and sends a message that cheating in California will not lead to success.”
Prior Gambling-Related Cases
In an unrelated California investigation, last September Bonta announced a $3.5 million judgment against Pong Game Studios Corporation, a game developer. It related to illegal gambling and associated marketing, Bonta said.
The Ontario, Canada-based company supplied “casino-style games … under the guise of lawful sweepstakes” to internet cafes across California, Bonta added.
Also, last August, there was a settlement of a case against Lucky Lady Card Room in San Diego, in response to a 2016 allegation that illegal bookmaking operations were being run out of the cardroom, Bonta said.
In addition, Bonta took action against The Bicycle Hotel & Casino in Bell Gardens last November regarding a federal investigation regarding money laundering. The cardroom was fined $500,000.
The Bicycle allegedly failed to file proper Currency Transaction Reports (CTR) and Suspicious Activity Reports for Casinos (SARC). Both related to a Chinese national high roller who visited the cardroom about 100 times during an approximate eight-month stretch in 2016.