Star baccarat dealer convicted for stealing almost $500K

By Noah Taylor Updated
Star baccarat dealer convicted for stealing almost $500K

A former casino dealer has been convicted for his role in a betting scam that cheated Star Sydney out of almost half a million dollars.

The Guardian reports that Hieu Duc Lam was caught on CCTV colluding with another employee and patron in August 2020, peeking and memorising cards to be used in an upcoming game.

Once Lam memorised the cards, he then used a secure phone messaging app to inform his accomplice, a player in the scheduled game, of their order.

The scam netted $467,700 in less than a month.

Lam was sacked by the Star and pleaded guilty to 15 counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage in Sydney’s Downing Centre local court in January 2021.

He has been sentenced to two years’ jail to be served by way of intensive correction order that began in July.

He is also required to perform 250 hours of community service work.

The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority chair, Philip Crawford, said the Star self reported the misconduct and was right to sack Lam as he held a position of responsibility.

“A casino special employee is licensed to supervise and facilitate gaming activities,” Crawford said.

“Their role is to help safeguard the integrity of casino operations from criminal influence, serious misconduct or exploitation and a special degree of trust is placed in them.

“This case demonstrates a clear breach of that trust.”

ILGA, in application by NSW Liquor and Gaming, has also cancelled Lam’s gaming licence.

His case comes after two Star employees were sacked and convicted after attempting to steal more than $30,000 in gaming chips in March.

Star employee caught stealing chips

A Star Casino Sydney employee was found stealing chips and placing them in his sock as none of two incidents brought to light at the casino, resulting in the dismissal of two employees.

Footage of the incidents was played in court as the dealers faced the music.

The first incident saw a seated baccarat dealer shuffle chips onto the table using his right hand.

He then transfers them to his right hand before reaching under the table and stuffing them into his sock.

He reemerges, shows the camera there is nothing in his hands and carries on with his shift.

Over the course of a week last July, he took $11,000 off the table.

In a separate incident, another dealer overpaid a patron he knew $5000 on several occasions.

The customer handed him $1000 in cash but received $6000 in chips.

This took place on four separate occasions, meaning the customer was deliberately overpaid $20,000.

Both incidents were reported to the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority and resulted in court proceedings.

Their licences were also cancelled by the ILGA.

“A casino special employee is a licensee engaged to supervise and facilitate gaming activities,” ILGA chair Philip Crawford said in a statement.

“These people help safeguard the integrity of casino operations from criminal influences, serious misconduct or exploitation and a special degree of trust is placed in them.”

Detroit man goes to extreme lengths to steal from casino ATMs

In April, a Detroit man pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and identity theft after donning a prosthetic mask to appear older and then withdraw money from other people’s bank accounts at casino ATMs.

John Colletti’s identity theft and fraud spree began in April 2019 and continued until March 2020, when he was arrested in Kansas.

Most of Colletti’s thefts occurred at Detroit’s MGM Grand casino and other Michigan properties.

In each instance, Colletti donned a prosthetic face mask that made him appear older, while adding to the disguise with a hat, glasses and the like.

Colletti’s spree resulted in the theft of at least $125,740, which he was ordered to repay to the ATMs’ owner and operator, Global Payments Gaming Services.

Most of his thefts came during several weeks in April and May 2019.

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