Five New York residents are accused of stealing $1.12m from casinos through an alleged fake check scheme. The suspects allegedly deposited fake bank checks in exchange for casino chips from August 26 to August 28 at five Atlantic City casinos, according to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office announcement on Thursday.
The Ocean Casino Resort, the Borgata, and Caesars Atlantic City each honored $284,000 worth of checks, while the Hard Rock and Golden Nugget casinos each lost $134,000. It was allegedly the two female suspects, Qingtao Zhang and Xiuhuan Zhang, who presented the checks at the casinos.
a sophisticated financial scheme spanning multiple casinos”
Detailing the charges, Acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck said: “The defendants were caught executing a sophisticated financial scheme spanning multiple casinos and over a million dollars in fraudulent checks.”
Four suspects remain at large
As part of the scheme, the defendants allegedly tried to deposit two phony checks at each casino, one for $134,000 and the other for $150,000. The checks were supposedly from Bank of America and TD Bank. The Hard Rock Casino would not accept the $150,000 check, while the Golden Nugget told a suspect that she could only get incremental amounts from the check.
Four of the suspects remain at large, while Qingtao Zhang was detained in September in Amsterdam. The authorities are still searching for Sen Ge, Peng Cai, Shuai Liu, and Xiuhuan Zhang. There are outstanding warrants for each of these four suspects. The prosecutor also mentioned that other people are actively under investigation.
The investigative efforts
The New Jersey State Police Casino Gaming Bureau and the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau are leading the investigation of the case. On Wednesday, an Atlantic County grand jury indictment saw each of the suspects charged with second degree conspiracy, as well as attempted theft by deception and numerous counts of second degree theft by deception.
Speaking about the efforts to date in the investigation was New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, who said: “The arrest of Qingtao Zhang in the Netherlands illustrates the premier working relationship the New Jersey State Police has around the world and our willingness to ensure distance will never become an obstacle when it comes to justice.”
The second degree charges carry sentences of between five and ten years in state prison, as well as a fine of up to $150,000.