[ISN] High-Tech Card Cheat Pleads Guilty

From: InfoSec News <alerts_at_private>
Date: Thu, 3 Jul 2008 03:40:22 -0500 (CDT)

By Thomas Claburn
July 2, 2008

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 

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.


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Received on Thu Jul 03 2008 - 01:40:22 PDT

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