News and Press Releases

Dealer Conspired and Used “False Shuffle” to Cheat Tribal Casino

December 14, 2007

KASEY JAMES MCKILLIP, 23, of East Wenatchee, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to three months in prison, four months of home detention and 100 hours of community service for Conspiracy to Commit Theft of Funds from a Tribal Gaming Establishment. MCKILLIP pleaded guilty September 6, 2007. As part of his plea agreement, MCKILLIP will pay $45,385 in restitution to the Nooksack River Casino. U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour imposed the prison time saying it reflected the seriousness of the offense.

According to the facts outlined in the plea agreement, in August 2005, MCKILLIP was approached by co-defendant Jacob Nickels and solicited his participation in a cheating scheme. Nickels was working as a pit boss at the Nooksack River Casino. In September 2005, co-defendant Levi Mayfield showed MCKILLIP how to perform the “false shuffle.” During October 2005, MCKILLIP was in regular phone contact with Nickels, Mayfield, and the instigator of the cheating scheme George Lee. The false shuffle technique allowed Lee and a co-conspirator to place bets knowing which cards would come up next at the table. On October 21, 2005, MCKILLIP performed the false shuffle on two separate occasions, allowing Lee and his co-conspirator to steal $45,385 from the casino.

In May, indictments were unsealed in Seattle and San Diego charging 24 defendants in an alleged racketeering enterprise and a scheme to cheat casinos across the country out of millions of dollars. According to the indictments, from in or about March 2002, through the date of the indictments, the defendants formed and participated in a racketeering enterprise by cheating at gambling at casinos across the United States. The indictments lists 18 casinos that were allegedly targeted by members of the conspiracy, including 10 casinos that are owned and operated by Indian tribes. The indictments allege that members of the conspiracy repeatedly won thousands of dollars during card games – up to $868,000 on one occasion. In Western Washington the Nooksack River Casino and the Emerald Queen Casino were victims of the cheating ring.

At sentencing Assistant united States Attorney J. Tate London said “theft and embezzlement from tribal casinos is a widespread problem.” William Coleman with the Nooksack Tribe told the court that the revenue stolen from the casino hurts tribal social programs, such as housing, health care and food and clothing for impoverished tribal members.

In the Western District of Washington the case is being investigated by the FBI and the Washington State Gambling Commission with assistance from the Puyallup and Nooksack Tribal Gaming Agencies.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Tate London.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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