Crown Casino baccarat dealer, card players in court on fraud charges

Crown MelbourneA Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday heard that a baccarat dealer and three other card players conspired in an alleged $400,000 fraud that occurred at Crown casino between March 26 and May 1, 2017.

According to prosecutors, the former Crown dealer Michael Huo, 35, gave his three accomplices Fiona Shum, 46, Ke Wang, 25, and Yixual Cui, 22, prior knowledge on the card about to be played.

This was what helped the three make $431,700 within 58 hours of play at Huo’s table at the Mahogany Room for high rollers of the casino.

The conspiracy was detected after a critical review of the CCTV footage by the Crown’s surveillance team. After the review of footage, the surveillance team arrested Mr Huo and the other three alleged accomplices.

According to the investigation manager of the casino, Jason McHutchison, the surveillance team detected that Huo allegedly viewed the first few cards of each shoe “a stack of cards comprising multiple decks” and told his accomplices the upcoming cards on 20 different occasions.

Mr McHutchison noted that “If the players were aware of what the first card would be and where it was going that would increase the odds of where to place their bets.”

However, during a cross-examination, Mr McHutchison couldn’t tell the difference between when Ms Shun won legitimately and when the allege incidence took place.

Three of the accused Ms Cui, Mr Huo and Ms Shum will soon face a court hearing to determine if they are guilty of charges of “engaging in conduct that corrupted a betting outcome, obtaining property by deception and dealing with the proceeds of crime.”

The other co-accused, Ke Wang, who is a first time offender, will be placed on a diversion program of the court after her hearing. The program enables first time offenders who acknowledge their crime to be spared of a criminal record. As part of the program, she will pay $500 to a charity for gambling. She is also required to give evidence against the other accused. According to the prosecutors, Ms Wang accrued less than $1900 in the alleged fraud.

During Mondays, hearing chaired by magistrate John Bentley, lawyers of the accused questioned the authority of the casino to arrest and hold suspects for hours before the arrival of police.
According to Peter Haag, a lawyer for Mr Hou, the Crown casino investigators held his client for more than 3 hours. On the other hand, Bruce Walmsley, QC, who is standing in for Ms Shum said his client suffered 2 hours of detention.

The hearing continues…