Facing lengthy prison terms
A Mississippi couple are facing years in prison after scamming Rivers Casino out of $10,500. They used distraction tactics and secret signals to swindle the money from the Pittsburgh casino’s roulette tables last month.
a prison sentence of up to seven years
Officials charged Denielle Derohan and Shaun Benward on Wednesday with conspiracy, theft by deception, as well as five counts of perpetrating fraudulent schemes while gaming. A conviction of felony theft by deception carries a prison sentence of up to seven years.
Trooper David Endlich, an officer in the Mississippi police’s Bureau of Gaming, detailed in the criminal complaint that the authorities became aware of the scam on February 20.
Caught red handed
The couple managed to pull off their scam on three occasions over the course of two days. Investigators used both surveillance footage and accounts from dealers to uncover the illicit activity. There is no shortage of surveillance footage from the casino, with more than 1,000 cameras located around the property.
As part of their scam, Derohan would play roulette before Benward approached the table. With the ball still spinning on the roulette wheel, Benward would hand over some chips to the game’s dealer and start talking to them as a distraction tactic.
Once the ball landed, Derohan informed Benward of the result through a secret signal. The latter would then place a wager before the dealer was able to see that the ball had come to a stop. On each of the three occasions they pulled off the scheme, the duo won $3,500. Two other attempts proved unsuccesful.
Partners in crime
The criminal complaint notes how both individuals were present at the table each time that they tried to pull off the scam. Both parties went to the casino in the same vehicle, where Benward dropped off his partner at the entrance before parking.
also facing related charges for driving to the casinos
They would also leave separately to go back to the vehicle. Police believe this was done to “not draw attention to their activities.” As Benward had a suspended driving license, he is also facing related charges for driving to the casino.
It is not the first time that Benward has found himself on the wrong side of the law for cheating casinos. He previously faced charges of theft by deception, criminal attempt, conspiracy by trick or fraud, and false impression.
Following these allegations, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board placed Benward on its Involuntary Casino Exclusion List in 2015. Rivers Casino could now face a fine as it is the responsibility of casinos to block entry for anyone on this list.