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Phuong Truong Guilty on Casino Games Cheating Charges at Agua Caliente Casinos

An individual that has participated in a casino table games cheating ring that victimized the Agua Caliente and Spa Resort casinos in the Coachella Valley and made off with as much as $7 million from casino facilities across the US was sentenced on March 15th, 2010 to seventy months in prison.

Phuong Quoc Truong, who is a part of the infamous "Tran Organization," was sentenced on Monday by US District Court Judge John A. Houston in San Diego. The court also ordered Phuong Quoc Truong to forfeit $2.7 million and pay a total of $5.7 million in restitution.

Indictments claimed that casino dealers at the casinos of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians were offered bribes but the casino dealers did not accept them and that may have been the key that triggered the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) probe. The spokesperson for the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage, Therese Everett-Kerley, refused to comment on the issue. Indictments divulged in 2007 showed no loss was incurred at the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage and the Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs.

United States Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, with the Department of Justice Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Karen Hewitt of the Southern District of California said that in a plea bargain, Truong admitted that he and his fellow suspects stole up to $7 million during "card cheats".

The FBI's San Diego office, IRS criminal investigation unit, California Department of Justice's Bureau of Gambling Control and other law enforcement agencies have been investigating the casino-cheating controversy for several years now. The indictments said that the casino game cheating ring allegedly bribed casino supervisors, pit bosses and casino table games dealers and utilize blocks of unshuffled cards.

It also claimed that the cheating ring also used hidden microphones, cellular phones and other devices. Federal grand jury indictments revealed in May 2007 exposed a card-rigging conspiracy aimed at stealing money from ten Indian gaming casinos, including three casinos in the Coachella Valley.

Law enforcement officials said that in all, some twenty-seven casinos were targeted by the Tran Organization. Conspirators allegedly started the Tran Group in August 2002 and operated it for a couple of years.

For instance, the group had been involved in a cheating scheme in 2005 were the Resorts East Chicago riverboat in Chicago lost $868,000 in just ninety minutes. Conspirators used "false shuffle" to cheat casinos on mini-baccarat games. Aside from the valley casinos, other popular gaming facilities the card cheats targeted included the Palace Station casinos and the Monte Carlo Resort in Las Vegas and different riverboat casinos in North America.

Phuong Truong was ordered to forfeit his interests in various assets, like his two residences in San Diego, two properties in Vietnam, a 2001 Porsche Carrera, a Rolex watch and diamond pendant. The officials of the Department of Justice have pleaded guilty to the casino-card game cheating conspiracy.


05/03/2010 13:07 PM


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