Vegas Casino Dealers Indicted for Cheating

las vegasTwo former casino dealers and two friends are accused of siphoning more than $1 million off craps tables over two years, using phantom bets at a posh Las Vegas Strip resort.

James Russell Cooper Jr. and Mark William Branco were fired by the Bellagio after the scheme came to light and they were arrested in July 2014, prosecutor Jay P. Ramen said Thursday.

Cooper and Branco are named with Jeffrey D. Martin and Anthony Grant Granito in a 60-count indictment filed Wednesday. The charges include cheating at gambling and theft — felonies that could get the defendants decades in prison.

The dice game scam involved the dealers accepting late or unclear bets and paying out winnings at times when colleagues and supervisors generally weren’t aware what was happening, said James Taylor, a Nevada State Gaming Control Board deputy chief.

“Cheating is common,” Taylor told The Associated Press. “We arrest 350 to 500 people a year for cheating or theft from a casino. But to have it go this long and for this much money is unusual.”

“Fortunately, someone noticed and came forward,” he said.

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