News and Press Releases

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

January 11, 2008

LEVI MAYFIELD, 24, of Bellingham, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to two months in prison, 90 hours of community service and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Commit Theft of Funds from a Tribal Gaming Establishment. MAYFIELD pleaded guilty July 31, 2007. As part of his plea agreement, MAYFIELD will pay $90,510 in restitution to the Nooksack River Casino. U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour imposed the prison time in light of the seriousness of the offense and the sentences previously received by co-defendants in the case.

According to the facts outlined in the plea agreement, in August 2005, MAYFIELD 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, MAYFIELD showed co-defendant Kasey McKillip how to perform the “false shuffle.” During October 2005, MAYFIELD was in regular phone contact with Nickels, McKillip, 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 four separate occasions in October 2005, MAYFIELD performed the false shuffle resulting in a loss to the casino of more than $90,000.

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.

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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