A former Maryland-based casino employee who used to work as a baccarat dealer pleaded guilty to charges accusing him of assisting players defraud the casino. The fraudulent scheme drained assets amounting to more than US$1 million from the casino situated near Washington D.C., and the baccarat dealer got a portion of the money accumulated as a result of the scheme.
Ming Zhang is to now face a 5-year imprisonment sentence at the least after he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring and transportation stolen funds he faced in federal court. According to a court filing, Zhang used to partially expose a card deck used in the game of baccarat to a casino player, who took a photo of the cards, and then the same player, as well as other participants in the fraud, placed massive bets. The scheme took place in September 2017.
Erin Pulice, Assistant US Attorney, explained to the court that players are actually able to predict the result of baccarat hands with almost perfect accuracy in case they are aware of the cards’ order in a certain deck. Ms. Pulice revealed that the fraud ended up with the overall loss for the casino estimated at US$1,046,560. The gambling venue is deliberately left unnamed in court papers and was not named during the latest court hearing.
Still, a MGM National Harbor spokesman eventually revealed that Zhang had been part of the Maryland casino’s staff.
“Ming Zhang is no longer employed by MGM National Harbor. We have provided our full cooperation with authorities throughout this investigation.” – Malik Husser, Spokesman of MGM National Harbor.
Sentence to Be Read in January 2019
The sentence of Mr. Zhang is expected to be announced by Paul Grimm, a US District Judge, on January 31st, 2019.
The imprisonment sentence is not the only consequence that would follow the former MGM National Harbor casino employee. As explained by Carole Gentry, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, the state gambling regulatory body was processing a revocation of Mr. Zhang’s license.
According to the information included in a court filing along with the guilty plea of the ex baccarat dealer revealed that the fraudulent scheme was carried out in no less than one other casino in the state of Maryland. For the time being, there are a total of six casinos in the state, apart from MGM National Harbor which started operation in December 2016.
As revealed in court, sometime in the period from July 2017 to September 2017, Mr. Zhang was there when another person, who has been alleged as a participant in the fraud, executed the fraudulent scheme at a casino other than MGM National Harbor. The court filing says that after he have met that person, the former baccarat dealer accepted a US$1,000 payment at a hotel near the casino where the scheme was executed.
According to investigators’ findings, Zhang reached one of the other conspirators to get more compensation after the cheating scheme was carried out. The next day, the casino employee lied to investigators when confronted about the scheme.