Risk
7/2/2008
07:07 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

High-Tech Card Cheat Pleads Guilty

One of the devices used by the group was a wireless transmitter to anticipate the cards players would be dealt, according to a Justice Department indictment.

Between March 2003 and July 2006, the Tran Organization -- a group of high-tech card cheats -- scammed casinos around the country for about $7 million. On one occasion, they made $868,000 in about 90 minutes.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice said that Son Hong Johnson, one of the members of the group, had pleaded guilty to cheating casinos around the country. He is the 11th defendant to plead guilty out of 13 individuals named in an indictment returned on May 22, 2007.

One of the defendants, Han Truong Nguyen, was sentenced in May to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,896,659 in restitution. The remanding defendants await sentencing. Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced in December.

According to the indictment, the group would bribe card dealers at casinos to create a false shuffle that returned a group of cards to the deck in a known order. This "slug" of cards enabled Tran members to anticipate the cards players would be dealt.

One member of the group would act as "card recorder" and would note at least some of the cards dealt during the course of play. "During mini-baccarat games, the card recorder usually would record the value of the cards on a paper form the casino provided to mini-baccarat players in the normal course of play," the indictment said. "In blackjack games, the card recorder would use a hidden transmitter or microphone and a cellular telephone to relay the order of the cards to an enterprise member or associate, who would enter the order of the cards into a computer program loaded with a specially designed card tracking computer program."

One of the devices used by the group was a wireless transmitter purchased from the Spy Shops of the U.S. and Canada. The indictment does not specifically name the device used, but it may have been what the site calls the wireless in-ear cellular communicator ($950), which is designed for covert communication.

The group didn't always win. Indeed, the indictment said that the group sometimes lost intentionally to deflect suspicion. In addition, members sometimes made mistakes in the execution of their scheme, resulting in losses.

Members of the group often cashed out with gambling winnings of less than $10,000 to avoid federal reporting requirements.

Still, they weren't careful enough. The indictment does not specify how the group was finally identified and caught, but it may have had something to do with an attempt to fleece the Imperial Palace Casino in Biloxi, Miss., that went awry.

In June 2006, one of the defendants attempted to bribe an undercover agent at the Imperial Palace. That's the sort of misstep that's likely to bring unwanted attention from law enforcement authorities.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2004-2771
Published: 2014-12-24
The expand function in fio.c in Heirloom mailx 12.5 and earlier and BSD mailx 8.1.2 and earlier allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands via shell metacharacters in an email address.

CVE-2014-3569
Published: 2014-12-24
The ssl23_get_client_hello function in s23_srvr.c in OpenSSL 1.0.1j does not properly handle attempts to use unsupported protocols, which allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (NULL pointer dereference and daemon crash) via an unexpected handshake, as demonstrated by an SSLv3 handshak...

CVE-2014-4322
Published: 2014-12-24
drivers/misc/qseecom.c in the QSEECOM driver for the Linux kernel 3.x, as used in Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) Android contributions for MSM devices and other products, does not validate certain offset, length, and base values within an ioctl call, which allows attackers to gain privileges or c...

CVE-2014-6132
Published: 2014-12-24
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the Web UI in IBM WebSphere Service Registry and Repository (WSRR) 6.3 through 6.3.0.5, 7.0.x through 7.0.0.5, 7.5.x through 7.5.0.4, 8.0.x before 8.0.0.3, and 8.5.x before 8.5.0.1 allows remote authenticated users to inject arbitrary web script or HTML vi...

CVE-2014-6153
Published: 2014-12-24
The Web UI in IBM WebSphere Service Registry and Repository (WSRR) 6.3.x through 6.3.0.5, 7.0.x through 7.0.0.5, 7.5.x through 7.5.0.4, 8.0.x before 8.0.0.3, and 8.5.x before 8.5.0.1 does not set the secure flag for a cookie in an https session, which makes it easier for remote attackers to capture ...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join us Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to hear what employers are really looking for in a chief information security officer -- it may not be what you think.