Former Casino Employee Sentenced to 57 Months in Prison for Stealing Player's Card Information
Las Vegas, Nev. – A former casino database manager who stole the free play points of thousands of casino customers and spent them to win money to which he was not entitled, was sentenced today to 57 months in prison and ordered to pay $863,895 in restitution, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Tony Ahn, 29, of Henderson, Nev., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan. Ahn was indicted in Feb. 2011, and pleaded guilty on May 7, 2012, to conspiracy to commit access device fraud, making fraudulent transactions with the access devices of others, and trafficking, production and use of counterfeit access devices. Ahn was ordered to self-report to federal prison by Nov. 5, 2012.
According to the guilty plea memorandum, beginning around the summer of 2009, Ahn, who worked as a database manager in a local casino, stole gambling account information of thousands of casino customers. Although no personal identifiers such as dates of birth or social security numbers were taken, Ahn did steal the customers' player's club card numbers and the PINs required to access these customers' free play points.
Ahn then recruited several co-conspirators, including Joseph Ramirez and David Evans, and provided them a computer, blank player's club cards, and a card encoding device. Ahn showed them how to use this equipment to encode the stolen data onto the counterfeit player's club cards. The conspirators then used these counterfeit cards to steal customers' free play points by playing them on gaming machines and winning money to which they were not entitled.
Tony Ahn's brother, Danny Ahn, also joined the conspiracy and filtered the stolen customer data to isolate customers with certain desirable characteristics. Another co-defendant, David Pecor was recruited by David Evans to gamble with the counterfeit cards. In November 2009, Tony Ahn ended his employment with the casino, but the conspirators continued to use the stolen customer data and counterfeit cards to gamble. The conspirators split the earnings they made in the scheme.
After a co-conspirator was arrested by state authorities, Tony Ahn and the other co-defendants agreed to keep silent and to hide the computer equipment they used to make the counterfeit player's cards. The plea agreement states that Ramirez and Evans buried the computer, computer equipment and counterfeit players club cards in the desert. Co-conspirators Ramirez, Evans, Pecor, and Danny Ahn, also pleaded guilty, and are scheduled to be sentenced over the next few months.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI, and the case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Chu.
Today's announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys' offices and state and local partners, it's the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.