California casino employee and patron embroiled in scandal

By Ethan Anderson Updated
California casino employee and patron embroiled in scandal

California’s Red Hawk Tribal Casino, Placerville, lost more than $200,000 in an alleged embezzlement scheme that led to the arrest of a venue employee and a patron.

The pair, identified as Luc Mooc and Prak Pich, were arraigned Monday on charges in El Dorado County Superior Court before Judge Mark Ralphs.

Pich worked as a floor manager at the casino and extended credit lines to Mooc, a casino patron, according to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

Pich allegedly changed documents to make it appear as if the credit line was paid back.

In fact, it was not, authorities claim.

The scheme stemmed from a common practice of casinos providing patrons credit.

“These short term, no-interest credit lines are commonly extended by casinos to allow approved patrons easy access to gambling funds, with the understanding that the temporary loan would be repaid within a short period of time,” Becerra explained in a statement.

“However, instead of paying back the loans, Mooc and Pich allegedly conspired to steal the funds that would range anywhere from $12,000 to $14,000 at a time.”

Details on the defendants’ current bail amounts were not immediately available late Monday.

Bail was initially set at $200,000 each.

But Judge Ralphs had the authority to adjust that amount during the court appearance.

El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case.

The duo a were arrested last Thursday and were being held at the El Dorado County Jail before their court appearances.

The California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Gambling Control and surveillance staff at the casino investigated the case.

Details were not immediately released to the media.

“My office stands ready to fight back against those who try to get rich quick by breaking the law,” Becerra said in the statement announcing the arrests.

“The California Department of Justice will do its part to tackle criminal activity in our state.”

In November 2018, a $1.1 million casino fraud scheme which targeted Red Hawk Casino and another venue led to a Georgia woman getting sentenced to two years in prison.

Darwin casino worker & brother-in-law sentenced after stealing Keno ticket

A worker at Darwin’s Sky City Casino and his brother-in law have been sentenced to home detention after stealing a customer’s winning Keno ticket worth more than A$53,000.

The customer presented the winning ticket worth A$53,353.60 on September 27, 2018 to Sky City employee Michael John Rich Tomas.

Ms Tomas told the customer that the ticket he presented had not won anything, when he knew it had won and subsequently pocketed it.

He drove his brother-in-law Jonathan De Guzman to the casino the next day to cash it in.

The scheme came unstuck when the casino employee that Mr De Guzman presented to ticket to became suspicious after remembering he had sold the ticket to someone else, the court heard.

Police weer alerted and discovered A$50,000 deposited in De Guzman’s bank account along with A$6,000 in cash at his home.

CCTV footage at the casino showed Mr Tomas going to “great lengths” to hide the ticket and eventually discretely take it with him.

Prosecutor Naomi Loudon said that security vision showed the moment the patron approached Mr Tomas with the winning ticket.

“Mr Tomas handed back four of the five tickets … he then reached beneath the counter and swapped the winning ticket with another one,” she told the court.

The next day, with Mr Tomas waiting in the car park, the court heard Mr De Guzman attended the casino and cashed in the winning ticket.

Casino employees are banned from gambling at Sky City Darwin and playing Keno in the Northern Territory.

Mr Tomas gave the winning ticket to his brother-in-law for this reason.

Mr De Guzman cashed the ticket as his own and received a $40,000 cheque and the remainder of the fraudulent winnings in cash.

A casino employee found the ticket with 36-year-old De Guzman’s license attached.

The staffer remembered selling the ticket to the real winner and recognised De Guzman as his colleague’s brother-in-law.

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