Ocean Eleven's copycat gang leader goes to jail

Can the casinos be beat using the latest tech gizmos? Not so much....
Written by Doug Hanchard, Contributor

The Rat Pack suggested in the original Ocean's Eleven movie that it was possible to take the House - The Casino's of Las Vegas. The remake with George Clooney made it seem possible in the computer era to take the house in a high tech razzledazzle secured environment. Card counting is not new. MIT students did it in the 1990's without the aid of any high tech gadgets and eventually were caught. Can the house be beat using the latest tech gizmos? Not so much....

In 2002, Phuong Quoc Truong brought together 37 individuals working to beat the Casinos using insiders and software developers creating the TRAN organization. Its goal was to beat the house at blackjack and baccarat. Sound familiar?

The FBI helped the house win as the leader of gang of 37, who worked a card cheating scam known as the "False Shuffle",  was sentenced to 70 months jail time. The TRAN organization set up sophisticated techniques to beat the house.

According to the three indictments, the defendants and others executed a "false shuffle" cheating scheme at casinos in the United States and Canada during blackjack and mini-baccarat games. The indictments allege that members of the criminal organization bribed casino card dealers and supervisors to perform false shuffles during card games, thereby creating "slugs" or groups of unshuffled cards. The indictments also allege that after tracking the order of cards dealt in a card game, a member of the organization would signal to the card dealer to perform a "false shuffle," and members of the group would then bet on the known order of cards when the slug appeared on the table. By doing so, members of the conspiracy allegedly repeatedly won thousands of dollars during card games, including winning several hundred thousand dollars on one occasion.

The indictments also allege that the members of the organization used sophisticated mechanisms for tracking the order of cards during games, including hidden transmitter devices and specially created software that would predict the order in which cards would reappear during blackjack games.

In the Ocean's Eleven story, the gang took on three casinos that housed all the money in a single vault. The TRAN organization took it a whole new level, trying their scam on 27 casinos across North America. They successfully beat the house to the tune of $7 million  prior to being shut down. The FBI did not disclose if it recovered any proceeds of the organization. U.S. District Court Judge John A. Houston ordered Truong to forfeit $2,791,146 and to pay $5,753,416 in restitution. Let's hope when he gets out of the pen he's not wearing Ted Nugent's shirt...

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