Dealer Convicted of "False Shuffle" Scheme - NBC 7 San Diego

Dealer Convicted of "False Shuffle" Scheme

The former dealer and his buddies stole more than $1 million from one casino



    Dealer Convicted of "False Shuffle" Scheme
    Prosecutors say between 2002 and 2005, Tran and the others used a "false shuffle" scheme to cheat at blackjack and baccarat.

    A former casino dealer cheated one casino out of more than $1 million and, with his co-conspirators, targeted casinos all over the U.S. including several in San Diego County.

    Mike Waseleski, 46, was convicted by a federal jury Wednesday for his role in the so-called “Tran Organization” headquartered here in San Diego.

    In the cheating scheme, Waseleski would “false shuffle” the cards during games creating what’s called “slugs” or groups of unshuffled cards, according to investigators.

    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.

    According to evidence presented at trial, 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, prosecutors wrote in a prepared news release.

    Prosecutors said the defendants admitted to targeting 27 casinos including Sycuan Casino in El Cajon, Calif., Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif. and Barona Valley Ranch Casino and Resort in Lakeside, Calif.

    The “Tran Organization” ringleader, Phuong Quoc Truong, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct a racketeering enterprise in April 2008. He was ordered to serve 70 months in prison, pay $5.7 million in restitution and nearly $2.8 million in fines at his sentencing in March 2010.

    Forty other defendants have pleaded guilty in the cheating ring.

    At sentencing, scheduled for March 28, 2011, Waseleski faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and payment of restitution to the victim.