Gambling is a good time, especially when you are gambling with other people’s money. According to the Queens District Attorney’s Office, two employees from Resort World Casino at Aqueduct Racetrack distributed at least 70, and as many as 200, fake player cards. It is alleged that each of these fraudulent player cards was worth $100 in casino credit. If true, the value of the theft would be at least $7,000 and as much as $20,000. While this amount of money is a “drop in the bucket” to a casino’s bottom line, it certainly pales in comparison to the millions of dollars taken from customers who play games of chance favoring “the house” on an annual basis. Those transactions and risks, however, are knowingly accepted by gamblers. While a discussion as to the morality of such capitalistic endeavors may be worthy of a non-criminal blog, these alleged thefts are of a different variety and will be addressed appropriately here.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown believes that the two employees, Moises Jones and Rolanda Roberts, as well as two casino players, Sonny Vlado and Richard Ulado, were involved in the alleged scheme. According to the felony complaints against each of the defendants as well as statements by prosecutors, it is alleged that 71 fraudulent casino player cards – complimentary cards embossed with client names and containing credit given to specific players – were created for non existent people. Resort World Wide Casino tracked these cards back to Jones as they were alleged to have been created with the use of Jones’ designated employee access code. These fake player cards were then given to Roberts who in turn handed the cards out to pre-designated casino clients.
The two players arrested in the scheme, Vlado and Ulado, are alleged to have been observed using seven different fraudulent player cards
Compounding matters for Jones and Roberts, it is asserted by prosecutors that Jones admitted to creating not only these 71 player cards, but another 50 to 200 additional accounts where he profited $2,000. Further, at the time of her arrest, the police are alleged to have recovered 24 forged player cards. Not wanting to shoulder all of the responsibility or seeking to minimize her exposure, the police claim that Roberts stated that Jones in fact made the fraudulent accounts, would turn the cards over to Roberts and she would then give the cards to players. At the end of the evening, Roberts stated that she would get something in return for the $100 credits she dispensed.
Amongst many different felony offenses, Jones and Roberts face felony charges including, one count of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (NY PL 155.30) for the aggregated theft from the casino, 24 counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree (NY PL 170.25), Forgery in the Second Degree (NY PL 170.10) and Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (NY PL 175.10) for the creation and possession of fake player cards recovered during Robert’s arrest. While these defendants face other crimes, it is worth noting that while prosecutors may charge or indict these defendants for all of these offenses, the law does not permit a conviction for Forgery and Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument to stand as to the same specific item. Practically speaking, this statute, NY PL 170.35, is of little value due to the volume of charges, but these defendants could not be convicted for making and possessing the same specific player card. Should Jones or Roberts be convicted of these crimes they face up to four years in state prison for Falsifying Business Records and seven years in state prison on the other felony crimes.
Vlado and Ulado, the two customers charged in the alleged scam, face a felony count of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree and numerous misdemeanor offenses including Petit Larceny.
All four defendants certainly need to huddle with their criminal defense attorneys sooner rather than later. While Ulado and Vlado are smaller players in the alleged crew, they too face “D” felonies. Will prosecutors seek to make examples out of them? Will there be leniency? Alternatively, is this fraud merely the tip of the iceberg? It appears from the press release that the potential crimes and thefts are much greater than what is presently charged. Whatever defenses are implemented and how successful those defense may be, only time will tell.
To learn about each of the crimes listed above, follow the links back to the NewYorkTheftAndLarcenyLawyers.Com and New-York-Lawyers.org websites. Further reading, and linked below, is available on our blogs discussing these statutes, legal decisions impacting the law and cases in the New York area news.
New York criminal defense attorneys representing clients throughout New York City and the surrounding suburbs in theft investigations and arrests, the two founding partners at Saland Law PC previous served for numerous years as prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.