Placerville, California’s Red Hawk Tribal Casino lost more than $200,000 in an alleged embezzlement scheme that led to the arrest of a venue employee and a patron.
The pair, identified as Luc Mooc and Prak Pich, were arraigned Monday on charges in El Dorado County Superior Court before Judge Mark Ralphs.
Pich worked as a floor manager at the casino and extended credit lines to Mooc, a casino patron, according to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
Credit Line Allegations
Pich allegedly changed documents to make it appear as if the credit line was paid back. In fact, it was not, authorities claim.
The scheme stemmed from a common practice of casinos providing patrons credit.
These short term, no-interest credit lines are commonly extended by casinos to allow approved patrons easy access to gambling funds, with the understanding that the temporary loan would be repaid within a short period of time,” Becerra explained in a statement. “However, instead of paying back the loans, Mooc and Pich allegedly conspired to steal the funds that would range anywhere from $12,000 to $14,000 at a time.”
Details on the defendants’ current bail amounts were not immediately available late Monday from the court clerk’s office. Bail was set initially at $200,000 each. But Judge Ralphs had the authority to adjust the amount during the court appearance.
The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case. The duo was arrested on Thursday and were being held at the El Dorado County Jail before their court appearances.
The California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Gambling Control and surveillance staff at the casino investigated the case. Details were not immediately released to the media.
My office stands ready to fight back against those who try to get rich quick by breaking the law,” Becerra said in the statement announcing the arrests. “The California Department of Justice will do its part to tackle criminal activity in our state.”
Casino.org reached out to a Red Hawk Casino spokeswoman for comment on the case. No immediate response was made. Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians operates the casino.
Last November, a $1.1 million casino fraud scheme which targeted Red Hawk Casino and another venue led to a Georgia woman getting sentenced for two years in prison.
Lawsuit Pending Against Stones Gambling Hall
In October, Stones Gambling Hall in Citrus Heights, located only about 34 miles from Placerville, was sued by poker players who claimed a fellow gambler, Mike Postle, cheated.
The litigation was filed on behalf of 24 players who believe they were financially harmed by the alleged impropriety at Stones. Postle has denied wrongdoing, but the suit claims he was somehow informed about the plaintiffs’ hole cards during a series of streams.
Also named in the suit is Stones’ poker room manager, Justin Kuraitis. He allegedly failed to quickly and appropriately stop the improper scheme, the suit claims.
The plaintiffs are seeking damages of $10 million each from Postle, Stones Gambling Hall, and Kuraitis. Stones has launched its own inquiry into the allegations.
Given the allegations, Stones temporarily halted all streams and stopped the use of RFID cards. An independent inquiry was also launched, led by former federal prosecutor Michael Lipman.