Co-Founder of International Blackjack Cheating Syndicate Pleads Guilty
Jan 17, 2011
The co-founder of the Tran Organization which cheated at blackjack, stealing over $7 million from 29 casinos plead guilty.
Mrs. Van Thu Tran, 45, the co-founder of a criminal syndicate, labeled by law enforcement as the “Tran Organization”, pled guilty in San Diego to one count of Racketeering Conspiracy to cheat casinos across United States and Canada out of millions of dollars according to casino gambling news. As of January 17, Mrs. Tran became the 43rd defendant to plead guilty in connection with the Tran Organization. Besides two fugitives, every member of the Syndicate has been convicted.
Mrs. Tran admitted that in August of 2002, she along with Phuong Quoc Truong and Tai Khiem Tran founded a criminal enterprise for the sole purpose of cheating blackjack and baccarat casinos games within the United States and Canada and unlawfully acquiring over $7 million from 29 casinos. During the April 11 sentencing, Van Thu Tran faces up to 20 years in prison without parole, a $250,000 fine, asset forfeiture and multi-million dollar restitution.
The Tran Organization perfected a ‘false shuffle’ cheating scheme which was implemented in mini-baccarat and blackjack card games. The syndicate bribed casino dealers and supervisors to partially shuffle the cards, thereby creating groups of unshuffled cards called the ‘slug’. Mini computers running custom software, micro transmitters and microphones were used to inform the syndicate the sequence of the cards within the ‘slug’.
One member of the Tran Organization would memorize the sequence of discarded cards using a card counting system and eventually signal the dealer to perform a ‘false shuffle’ where a part of the new ‘shoe’ contained the unshuffled ‘slug’. Additional members of the syndicate would immediately place large bets at appropriate times as they knew the exact order of the cards in the ‘slug’. The syndicate repeatedly won tens of thousands of dollars from different casinos including winning over $500,000 on one occasion.