From card counting to getting caught stealing millions and getting away...stay tuned to number 1 to hear about the most insane casino heists ever performed!
Number 10: The Roselli Brothers. The advent of the Internet enabled some of the greatest things to ever exist, but it also made possible numerous scams and all kinds of thefts. One of such is the infamous Roselli Scam. In the time frame from 1995 to 2000, two online scam artists pulled off something insane.
They called themselves the “Roselli Brothers” and, during those five years, they operated in casinos from Nevada, Puerto Rico and New Jersey. And they stole $37 million dollars from them. The Roselli brothers hired someone who was great with computer hacker and managed to obtain credit information for people with really good credit scores and, within just a couple of months, the Roselli Brothers were able to get credit lines from major casinos, and up the stakes. What happened next is like something from the “Ocean’s Eleven” franchise: by the year 2000, they were playing 100k-bets per hand.
After cleaning the casinos out, the Rosellis disappeared. No one could find any trace that would lead to them. The FBI needed additional six month to realize what had happene…nobody had even known that the heist had even occurred! And needless to say, the name Roselli Brothers was just a backdrop, as the real Rosellis had died years ago. To this day, no one knows who the casino scammers were.
Number 9: The Cigarette Scam. The previous entry was like something out of Ocean’s 11, but this one…this is straight James Bond material right here. And it involved a pack of cigarette…how fitting.
Before we talk about this insane plot, though, take a moment to subscribe to our channel using the buttons below. While you’re there, be sure to like this video and click on that little notification bell, too. That way you’ll always know when we’ve posted new content. In 1973, at the Casino Deauville in France, a roulette scam took place, and it made the list of the smartest casino scams ever. The set-up is as follows: one of the casino’s dealers was also in charge of the radio signaling.
He had come up with a radio transmitter that was a perfect fit for a pack of smokes. But that was just one piece of the puzzle; there was also a receiver, a weightless one, which the dealer had placed inside a roulette ball. Of course, it was the roulette ball from the table he was working at. The dealer’s brother-in-law played as an unknown casino visitor, and he placed bets at the table. The third member of the gang, the dealer’s sister, used the pack of cigarettes and pressed the transmitter button.
Every time the button was pressed, the roulette ball would slide off from its spin and fall into a group of only six numbers that were possible per combination. The roulette ball was 90% accurate, and the team managed to rake in over $5 million in one week. They were eventually caught, not because their scam fell through, but because the dealer’s sister was so good-looking that she caught the attention of the casino staff. After realizing he was always at the table, they became suspicious…But the cigarette scam is still one of the biggest ever.
Number 8: The Contact Lens Scam. Technology can really help you go a long way…especially if you’re creative. This scam took place in 2011, when a Frenchman, backed by three Italians, stole little over $80,000 from a casino in Cannes, using a really smart method. The game they played was stud poker; what the Frenchman would do is mark the card decks with special ink the normal eye cannot detect…and then the three Italians wore special kinds of contact lenses. These lenses could notice the marking made on the card decks. When two substantial winnings took place in the same casino, the staff members became very alert. Right away, they called the police.
But once the police came, it took them quite some time to figure what had happened. It was pretty clear, right from the start, that invisible ink was involved, but the police couldn’t prove how the scammers were able to see the ink. After an in-depth investigation, they saw that each of the scammers had those contact lenses. In the end, the scammers all faced long jail sentences, but this has got to be one of the most creative casino scams ever.
Number 7: The Edge Sorting Scam. Before we get into it, let’s first make sure you know what “edge sorting” really is.
It’s a method of memorizing cards in a deck, and using them for running all kinds of shady plans. In order to do this, you have to be good with the cards. By looking at the abnormalities and defects in cards (not all cards in a deck, just some of them), an experienced player can memorize them with such precision that he may later use them with amazing accuracy. And this is what, allegedly, Phil Ivey Jr….a championship player of poker…did and made more than $9.5 million in 2014. Ivey played the game of baccarat, in a casino in Atlantic City, where he noticed that not all of the cards were the same on the back. He noticed different patterns, and decided to use that to his own advantage.
Now, the problem is that this is not perceived by casino officials as just being good at cards…this is considered cheating. Once the casino realized what was going on, Ivey faced a lawsuit which he ultimately lost. A couple of months ago, he was refused an appeal to collect his winnings, because the court saw the whole thing as dishonest conduct on Ivey’s side. Still, the man has an eye for detail…that’s a given!
Number 6: The Crown Casino Scam. This is probably the ultimate hacker: in 2013, a person managed to steal $30 million dollars from Melbourne’s Crown Casino by hacking into the casino’s surveillance system. And the thief’s identity still remains unknown. So, he (or she) managed to run away with all the money without being noticed or caught.
Amazing! The whole thing was probably such an embarrassment that the casino refused to disclose any details about the way it all went down. However, rumor has it that the infamous player was able to pull it off by wearing an earpiece. And it’s almost certain that he had an accomplice, tracking the surveillance footage. What actually happened still remains uncertain, but one thing is very interesting…the casino fired one of the staff members who were working on the night when the heist took place.
It’s not clear whether the staff member was in any way involved in the whole scam, but it’s definitely more than a coincidence. As for the casino officials, they still firmly believe that the stolen money will be recovered…
Number 5: The Cutter Gang. Wow, what a name! The Cutter Gang was a group of players who managed to clear out millions of dollars in 2011, by playing the game of baccarat. And they had a really good method of performing their scam.
Each member of the team had a small camera with him. But here’s the creative part: each camera was hidden in the cufflink. This way, the scammers were able to detect the card value and pass it to other players on the team. The name “cutter gang” came about because they used the practice of “cutting the deck” before the game, which is considered standard practice.
Each member of the team would record the cards with the tiny camera, and then leave the table…to inform the others. This process was repeated several times, and that’s how it all went. At least that was the plan.
But the gang members were almost arrested in Las Vegas one time, because the Cosmopolitan Casino suspected them of wrongdoing. However, they were soon all released because no evidence against them was found. The last anyone heard of the “cutter gang” was when they were arrested in the Philippines…for cheating…but they managed to escape and are still one the run.
Number 4: The ATM Scam. Don’t worry, we’re still on the topic of casinos…it just happens that one of the biggest casino scams has to do with ATMs. And here’s how…in 2012, 14 people faced charges for stealing more than $1 million from Citibank in Nevada and California.
The scammers found out about a flaw in the system, and decided to use at to their own advantage. It turns out that the ATMs allowed an unlimited number of withdrawals within one minute…and these withdrawals were all unrecorded. The whole scam was carried out by a team of people who had clear instructions: open up multiple Citibank accounts and cash-advance ten times more than the deposited money.
It was all kept under $10,000 per withdrawal, so that the federal security wouldn’t suspect a thing. The team was assembled by one woman, but all of them were ultimately arrested. She is facing a 30-year imprisonment and her conspirators at least five years behind bars, plus hundreds of thousands in fines.
Number 3: The Coin. Louis Colavecchio, called “he Coin” earned his nickname through counterfeiting tokens and coins that are used on slot machines. He was finally arrested in 1998, but until then, he pulled off some major heists. His plan was ingenious: along with his team, Colavecchio would fabricate coins and token by using steel dies from original coins. Dies are specialized tools used in the manufacturing industry; with them, he was able to mold counterfeit coins that were practically the same as the original ones.
Two things led to his success…he had connections with the mob, but he also had a day-time job that would help him out. He was a jeweler. Upon his arrest, Colavecchio was sentenced to six years imprisonment.
But this wasn’t enough to stop him. In 2006, he was arrested again, for the same crime…producing counterfeit casino coins. Because of his wrongdoings, many casinos decided to replace coins with vouchers in order to secure cash-outs. It’s not clear how much money he made this way, but the way he did it makes The Coin a worthy number 3 on our list.
Number 2: The Slot Scam. It turns out that people with many skills proved very creative casino scammers. Our previous entry had a jeweler who turned counterfeiter. For our number 2, we have a regular locksmith who figured he was entitled to a lot more. And by “a lot,” we mean…a lot! Dennis Nikrasch is the person responsible for one of the biggest, if not the biggest casino scam in the history of Las Vegas.
He began back in the 1970s, but the key to his success is that he didn’t allow time to make him obsolete. Ho constantly reinvented himself, and made sure that his skills were on par with the times. Starting out as a locksmith, he quickly realized that he was able to “figure out” any type of lock. It was almost second nature to him. He was arrested several times, but never stopped perfecting his craft.
When he was released in 1991, he continued his own way, even managing to crack the silicon protection of the then-new slot protection technology. And over a course of 22 years total, Nikrasch raked in $16 million dollars. Talk about a clean-out.
Number 1: Taft PC Scam. The 1970 saw a revolution in the computer industry. No one believed that computers would find their way into our homes…but they did. And of course, as with all things, personal computers found their way into criminal activity. And one of the first instances of PC-related criminal activity can be traced to the man called Keith Taft.
Taft managed to make a personal computer that would help him cheat at playing blackjack. Of course, back in the day, this was unheard of, because no one could imagine computers doing such complicated tasks…and there wasn’t even a law against using computers for casino cheating. Taft’s original computer was pretty big, though, but he carried it on him, wrapping himself up in intricate parts; he even had to put parts inside his shoes and, and operate the machine by pressing his foot against the floor. Heck…this may have even been the first laptop!
But the thing is…Keith Taft was never into scamming as much as he liked inventing things. It wasn’t about the money for him. He even made a small camera that would help players in the casino.
By the 1980s, the rules and regulations changed so much that it wasn’t fun anymore for Taft. He gave up everything, and opted for a different kind of life. However, he was eventually accepted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame, for his special contributions. Go figure.
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