News and Press Releases

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

September 6, 2007

KASEY JAMES MCKILLIP, 23, of East Wenatchee, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to Conspiracy to Commit Theft of Funds from a Tribal Gaming Establishment. MCKILLIP is scheduled to be sentenced on December 14, 2007, by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour. Conspiracy is punishable by up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. As part of his plea agreement, MCKILLIP agrees to pay $45,385 in restitution to the Nooksack River Casino.

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. MCKILLIP was paid $6,000 for his participation in the scheme.

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 list 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.

To date, co-defendants Levi Mayfield and Jacob Nickels have pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in December 2007. George Lee is also indicted in the Southern District of California and that district is taking the lead on his prosecution.

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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