Woman Under Arrest for Stealing $11.9m Through Macau Casino VIP Room

  • The woman allegedly stole around $11.9m from clients of the Cotai VIP room where she worked
  • Police have arrested the woman on charges of fraud and are searching for the stolen money
  • Two victims came forward to the police, together reporting around $1.1m in stolen deposits
  • Gaming law reform could mean strict penalties for operators or employees stealing deposits
Macau money
Morgan Stanley analysts believe that Macau’s casino operators might have issues borrowing from banks due to ongoing pandemic woes. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Deposits stolen from clients

In the Chinese gambling hub of Macau, authorities have arrested a 42-year-old woman employed by one of the city’s casinos. The local resident allegedly stole around MOP95.5m ($11.9m) from clients of the Cotai VIP room where she worked.

lured victims into depositing funds by promising favorable daily interest rates

Authorities first learned of the woman’s crimes through the reports of two victims. Last week, a man and a woman said they had collectively lost around MOP9m ($1.1m) in deposits through the Cotai VIP Room. The accused allegedly lured victims into depositing funds by promising favorable daily interest rates.

In its investigation, the police found that a local woman surnamed Tong had stolen deposits from more than 70 clients. After questioning her, police transferred Tong to the Public Prosecutions Office on charges of fraud. They are still looking for the stolen funds and anyone else involved in the scheme. 

The reports of victims

One woman, who contacted Macau police on September 10, said she signed a partnership agreement with the VIP casino club in Cotai. As part of the deal, she paid HK$5m ($640,000) to use the club to conduct VIP business. Last week, however, she found that the VIP room had taken her funds and her partner had disappeared.

Meanwhile, a male victim contacted police on September 12 reporting that he had deposited HK$3.6m ($460,000) into the same Cotai VIP room. He allegedly did so after a local woman named Tong promised him a daily interest rate of 1%. The victim alerted the authorities after he was subsequently unable to retrieve his deposit or the interest.

As reported by the Macau News Agency, the Judiciary Police have concluded that the VIP business permitted its account room to authorize the withdrawals by Tong on a number of occasions. In questioning, Tong confessed that one of the managing partners of the VIP room instructed her to transfer deposits to other accounts.

Stricter regulation incoming

This case of fraud comes at a critical time for the Macau gaming industry. On Wednesday, the local government began a 45-day consultation process with the aim of gauging public opinion on gambling regulatory reform. The proposed changes focus on nine areas, including increased casino surveillance and the regulation of deposits in junket rooms.

offenders could face a five-year prison sentence

In a document revealing proposals, officials suggested that the gaming law should include penalties against casino license holders, their shareholders, or employees that illegally take deposits from the general public. The proposal means that offenders could face a five-year prison sentence.

As the Macau government announced the beginning of the consultation process, shares in the region’s casino operators plummeted. On Wednesday, Macau gaming stock fell by as much as a third, losing around $14bn in value altogether. Wynn Macau shares took the most substantial hit, down 34% by the end of the day.

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