Wednesday 18 March 2015

62-Year-Old Casino Cheat Who Won £43,400 Jailed

A 62-year old man who tried to escape abroad after being arrested for cheating at poker and using false IDs at casinos has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

This is the Met’s first conviction for a specific cheating technique called 'card marking'.

Mihai Lacatos, 62, used fake identity cards and driving licences to gain entry to casinos he had been banned from.

He used the ‘card marking’ technique to cheat at three-card poker at the Playboy Club in Mayfair.

This involved him using slight of hand to bend specific cards at the poker table, so that he would later be able to tell what the dealer and other players had been dealt, giving him a significant advantage.

He spent hours playing at one table so that he could dent the centre of as many cards as he wanted.

He was so swift, and the dents so subtle, that his cheating initially went unnoticed.

Detectives from the MPS Gaming Unit began investigating after they were contacted by Caesars Entertainment, which owns the Playboy Club, in January 2014. They circulated his image to casinos across the UK and he was arrested on 31 March 2014 at the Rubicon Casino on Regent Street, Northampton after staff there recognised him and called police.

He was subsequently bailed to return to Charing Cross Police Station on 13 May 2014 but did not do so. While on bail, he continued to commit fraud in at least three more casinos.

Detectives began searching for him again and eventually managed to trace him, arresting him in the departure lounge at Luton Airport on 20 November 2014.

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