The co-founder of a group known as the Tran Organization, Van Thru Tran, pleaded guilty in San Diego today to conspiring to cheat 29 casinos in the U.S. and Canada out of US$7 million, including Casino Rama in Ontario and the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas.
Members of the organizations are alleged to have bribed casino card dealers and supervisors to perform false shuffles during card games, thereby creating “slugs” or groups of unshuffled cards. After tracking the order of cards dealt in a card game, a member of the organization would signal to the card dealer to perform a “false shuffle,” and members of the group would then bet on the known order of cards when the slug appeared on the table.
By doing so, members of the conspiracy repeatedly won thousands of dollars during card games, including winning several hundred thousand dollars on one occasion. The members of the organization 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 blackjack games.
Tran faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, forfeiture of certain assets, and payment of restitution to the victims.