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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Former Mohegan Sun Vice President And Associate Indicted For Money Laundering Conspiracy And Other Federal Charges

SCRANTON - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a former Vice President of Player Development for the Mohegan Sun Casino at Pocono Downs and an associate have been charged with multiple federal crimes in a 21count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Scranton.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Robert Pellegrini, age 50, of Fairview Township, and Mark Heltzel, age 51, of Dallas, are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, multiple counts of access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. 

The grand jury alleged that Pellegrini, Heltzel, and an unindicted coconspirator defrauded the Mohegan Sun Casino at Pocono Downs by engaging in a scheme involving the use of stolen names in PINs (personal identification numbers) that were tied to players’ loyalty club cards. 

It is alleged that, with the assistance of an unindicted coconspirator, Pellegrini used the stolen information to create duplicate player club cards, which he then loaded with “free play” credits.  The fraudulently created cards were then allegedly given to Heltzel by Pellegrini for Heltzel to gamble with, primarily at poker slot machines.  The indictment alleges that the scheme began in May 2014 and continued to April 2015, allegedly netting the defendants winnings in the approximate amount of $422,147. 

The charges stem from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service Investigations, the Pennsylvania State Police and the cooperation and assistance of the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office.  Prosecution is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Olshefski.

Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

In this case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is 20 years’ imprisonment and a $500,000 fine.  The government is also seeking forfeiture of the proceeds of the alleged criminal acts. Each crime also carries a term of supervised release following imprisonment.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.


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Updated April 19, 2016