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Man sentenced in casino cheating case

26 January 2009

SAN DIEGO, California -- As reported by the Imperial Valley News: "Phat Ngoc Tran, 35, pleaded guilty in San Diego to conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise, the "Tran Organization," in a scheme to cheat at least 12 casinos across the United States and Canada out of millions of dollars, Acting Assistant Attorney General Rita M. Glavin of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Karen P. Hewitt for the Southern District of California announced.

"Tran admitted that he and his co-conspirators unlawfully obtained up to $2.5 million during card cheats.

"A three-count indictment was returned May 22, 2007, and unsealed in the Southern District of California on May 24, 2007, charging Tran and 13 others each with one count of conspiracy to participate in the affairs of a racketeering enterprise; one count of conspiracy to commit several offenses against the United States, including conspiracy to steal money and other property from Indian tribal casinos; and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

"The indictment also charged five separate individuals each with one count of conspiracy to commit several offenses against the United States, including conspiracy to steal money and other property from Indian tribal casinos; and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

"In his plea agreement, Tran admitted that on numerous occasions between approximately October 2002 and July 2006, he participated in gambling cheats together with other alleged members of the Tran Organization at casinos in the United States and Canada. Tran admitted to targeting at least 12 casinos in the racketeering conspiracy.

"...Tran's sentencing is scheduled for June 1, 2009, in San Diego before U.S. District Judge John A. Houston. At sentencing, Tran faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on the racketeering conspiracy charge..."

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