From Baccarat Scam to Stabbing Crime: Encore Boston Harbor Casino Is Focus of Five Indictments

  • Grand jury charged Encore casino dealer and two others in a $25,500 cheating scheme
  • Dealer allegedly marked playing cards and communicated their order via mobile phone
  • A jury also indicted two men for assault and battery over a 2020 stabbing incident at Encore
  • In February, the MGC said it would file an amicus brief in a 2019 lawsuit against Encore
Encore Boston Harbor riverside casino resort
Encore Boston Harbor became the focal point of five Friday indictments involving separate cases of a baccarat cheating scheme and an assault and stabbing. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Same-day charges for two separate cases

The Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett, Massachusetts has drawn unwanted attention after a Middlesex County grand jury dispensed same-day indictments against five people for separate cases of cheating and assault.

According to the Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, three of multiple indictments issued on Friday include an Encore casino dealer and two others in connection with a baccarat cheating scheme.

card cheating scam that raked in $25,500 in two nights

The state’s grand jury handed down charges to dealer Jianming Li of Delaware and co-defendants Jun Zhang of New York and De Lin of Philadelphia in connection with a card cheating scam that raked in $25,500 in two nights.

Also on Friday, a grand jury indicted David Guante of Natick and James Johnson of Framingham in connection with an unrelated stabbing and assault and battery case. The charges involve an incident against another Encore casino patron following an altercation in the main cashier cage area of the Wynn Resorts-owned Mystic riverfront property in August 2020.

Cards and collusion

According to a press release from the AG’s office, the grand jury indicted Li, 53, and Zhang, 41, with charges of “Cheating Under the Gaming Act (two counts each), Conspiracy (two counts each), and Larceny by a Single Scheme (one count each).” Li earned an additional indictment on a one-count charge of making false statements to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC).

Lin, 46, was indicted on a one-count charge of cheating under the Gaming Act, and another one-count charge for conspiracy. The three defendants will face the charges in Middlesex Superior Court at an unspecified date.

Authorities allege that, while dealing the cards, Li “exposed a series of playing cards, memorized them and marked them with a ‘bookmark’ card.” Li then communicated the cards and their order via cell phone to Zhang while the pair went off to use separate bathroom facilities.

Fight by the cashier

In Friday’s other Encore-related headliner, a Middlesex County grand jury indicted Guante, 30, on a one-count charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. The jury indicted Johnson, also 30, on a one-count charge of assault and battery.

a one-count charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon

According to an investigation by the Massachusetts State Police Gaming Enforcement Unit at Encore Boston Harbor, the two men got into a disagreement with a fellow casino patron by the casino cashier at around 2:00am on August 20. Johnson struck the alleged victim in the face, while Guante allegedly knifed the victim once in his abdomen. Both men will appear before the Middlesex Superior Court at an unspecified date.

The five-indictments-in-a-day continues a torrid 2021 trend for Encore Boston Harbor. In February, the MGC announced it would file an amicus brief in a 2019 lawsuit against the property. The plaintiffs claim that Encore was paying 6-to-5 on blackjacks instead of 3-to-2.