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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Nationwide Scheme to Defraud Casinos and Credit Card Companies Leads to 3-Year Prison Sentence

Red Hawk and Cache Creek Among the California Casinos Hit

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Frank Luo, 49, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to three years in prison for wire fraud related to a nationwide casino and credit card fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

 

According to court documents, between August 2008 and August 2014, Luo participated in a scheme to defraud casinos and credit card companies across the country. The scheme involved using false identities in the names and Social Security numbers of migrant workers to apply for casino credit called “markers” and to open credit card accounts. A marker is a cash advance provided by a casino to a patron, and it is often secured by a check from the patron’s bank account. Luo, working in concert with co-defendant Vivian Wang 54, of Lilburn, Georgia, initially timely repaid several markers at different casinos and several credit cards in order to give the impression of creditworthiness to future casinos and credit card companies. Luo and Wang recruited “clients” to participate in the scheme to induce the casinos and credit card companies to part with even more money under fraudulent pretenses.

 

Luo and his co-schemers coordinated their gambling activity in order to give the appearance of losing money (and thereby encouraging the casinos to issue future markers) when in fact one schemer would “lose” money while another would gain the same. In other instances, one schemer would surreptitiously deliver the issued gambling chips to another in order to give the appearance of having spent them. At the end of the scheme, Luo and his co-schemers did not repay the casino markers or the significant outstanding credit card balances accrued in a short amount of time once creditworthiness had been established. The combined fraud led to over $1.1 million in losses to casinos and credit card companies.

 

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Gambling Control. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Yelovich is prosecuting the case.

 

Charges are pending against Wang. She is scheduled for trial in March 2018. The charges against her are only allegations; she is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated August 23, 2017