A Crown Casino baccarat dealer who helped defraud the casino of $1.8 million by incorrectly shuffling her cards was paid $20,000 for her part in the scam, a court heard yesterday.
Tiffany Moss, 32, of Bayswater, pleaded guilty in the County Court to conspiring to defraud Crown Casino of $1.8 million in July, 1998. The court heard that Moss had been approached in 1996 by a man she had seen at the casino’s Mahogany Room, but refused to meet him.
In 1997, the same man approached her again and she agreed to meet him because she was “curious” about what he had to say, the court heard. At a Box Hill cafe, the man allegedly showed Moss how to shuffle a deck of cards slowly and in such a way that the face side of the card could be seen.
The court heard that Moss carried out her part of the scam on July 26, 1998, and casino security cameras captured Moss incorrectly shuffling the cards twice during her shift.
Prosecutor T. P. Burke told the court that a woman had videotaped the cards with a camera hidden in her handbag, which she placed on the baccarat table. The video was then watched frame-by-frame in a hotel room nearby, so the offenders knew what order the cards were in, Mr Burke said.
“It’s pretty sophisticated if it happened in the way you say,” Judge Graeme Crossley told Mr Burke.
Baccarat, the court was told, was predominantly a Keluaran Hk game of chance. Two cards are dealt for the banker (or the house) and two for the player. Gamblers place bets on the hand they believe will be closest to nine.
“So if you know the order of the cards, you know the outcome of any game,” Mr Burke told the court.
Fifty minutes after Moss had incorrectly shuffled the cards, a well-known casino high roller, Ko Kon Tong, who was jailed in 2001 for his part in a heroin ring, sat at Moss’ table and won $1.4 million. Tong won 32 hands, lost 10 hands and tied at least three, the court heard.
A casino gaming supervisor later told police: “I remember this particular game because the play by Ko Kon Tong was inspirational . . . it was the most exciting game I have ever participated in.”
The balance of the $1.8 million was won by other gamblers at the table who began copying Tong’s bets after he was so successful.
The court heard that there was not enough evidence to charge anyone else over the fraud. Moss did not make a statement against the man who allegedly involved her in the scam. Geoffrey Steward, for Moss, told the court that his client was a “patsy”, used by others for their own ends.
“She was or is somewhat young and unsophisticated, prevailed upon by a manipulative, persistent, intimidatory villain,” Mr Steward said.
Judge Graeme Crossley said that from Moss’ reluctance to get involved in the scheme when she was first approached, it was apparent to her that there was “evil afoot”.
“We are dealing with a very substantial scam and she must have known that by co-operating she was enabling a scam of that magnitude to be perpetuated,” Judge Crossley said.
“Her criminality is to open the gate to commit a crime of that or even greater proportion,” the judge said. “As soon as she agrees to do it, the risk of enormous loss on behalf of the casino . . . should be immediately apparent.”
Judge Crossley refused Moss bail, but at a hearing late yesterday afternoon, Judge Leonard Ostrowski granted bail after being told that Moss’ five-month-old daughter, who is being breastfed, would not be able to join Moss in custody for at least two days.
Moss is due to be sentenced on Wednesday.