A US District Court has sentenced Ming Zhang, 32, a former baccarat dealer to 18 months in federal prison for hatching a conspiracy and defrauding Maryland casinos to more than $1 million in 2017.
After finishing the 18 months prison sentence, Zhang would have to spend 3 years in supervised release for hatching conspiracy to shift the stolen funds; and will also have to pay $1,046,560 in restitution.
Baccarat is a game of cards involving a comparison of “player” and “dealer” hands. Each card is assigned some numerical value and bettors bet on which hand will be closest to nine. If the order of cards in a deck is known, a bettor can predict the outcome of the game and accordingly place their bets on the winning hand.
In 2018, Zhang pleaded guilty of all the charges against him. In the plea agreement, Zhang admitted that on September 27, 2017, while working as a baccarat dealer at a casino, he showed a portion of the deck of cards to a co-conspirator who also took a picture of it. The co-conspirator and others placed large bets, and won handsomely as the portion of the deck showed to him were not shuffled.
Zhang admitted to lying about his involvement when the casino owners questioned him.
Zhang also admitted to working with the same co-conspirator and others again to cheat another casino in the same manner. Zhang alleged that his co-conspirator introduced the scheme to him and promised to pay him a portion of the earnings if he cooperated with him. Zhang also admitted that he did benefit financially from it.
United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur praised the FBI for investigating the case. He also thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Molissa H. Farber and Erin B. Pulice, who were prosecutors in the case.