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Gaming Guru

Jeff German

California man convicted in scam of Las Vegas casinos

5 April 2013

LAS VEGAS -- A Southern California man has been convicted in federal court of defrauding several local casinos out of $1 million in an elaborate casino credit scheme.

De Rong Shang, 50, was convicted this week of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and 17 counts of mail fraud after a two-week trial, Nevada U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said.

Senior U.S. District Judge Roger L. Hunt set a July 16 sentencing for Shang, who faces up to 360 years in prison and $4.5 million in fines, according to a news release from Bogden's office.

Shang's co-defendant, Yuli Eaton, 47, of Southern California, pleaded guilty in the investigation, conducted by the FBI, before the trial, Bogden said.

According to federal prosecutors, the credit scheme unfolded between December 2006 and April 2007. Shang and Eaton recruited people to open bank accounts funded by Shang. Then, Shang helped the recruits apply for lines of credit at casinos. Once the lines of credit were approved, the recruits transferred the money from their accounts to Shang's account.

The paid recruits withdrew chips from their lines of credit and played baccarat at the casinos, prosecutors said. The recruits carried out a scam known as "rolling the chips" to make it look as though they were losing money, when in fact they were just hiding chips and giving them to other co-conspirators.

Shang ended up cashing in the chips, prosecutors said. By the time the casinos tried to collect the unpaid markers, the accounts had been drained or closed.