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Thread: Key witness in casino fraud case found dead in creek from "accidental" fall

  1. #1
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Key witness in casino fraud case found dead in creek from "accidental" fall

    Really interesting story. Wish I was healthy enough to discuss this on radio.

    In 2015, 25-year-old Matthew Crane was a dealer at the Mohegan Sun Pocono, which is located in Pennsylvania.

    Crane was dating Rochelle Poszeluznyj, a cocktail waitress at the casino. Somehow he found out, presumably through Rochelle, that there was an ongoing scheme to steal freeplay from the casino. He reported it to authorities.

    There were three people involved:

    Robert Pellegrini (casino VP of player development)

    Mark Heltzel (a frequent customer)

    Rochelle Poszeluznyj (cocktail waitress)

    Here's how the scheme worked:

    Rochelle would serve drinks normally, and when players wanted to pay for their drinks using their card, they would give her their PIN to do so.

    Rochelle would then write down those PINs and the card number of those players.

    Then she would give this information to Robert, the casino VP, who would add additional freeplay onto those cards. He would make duplicates of those cards.

    Mark would then take the duplicate cards, run only the recently-added freeplay, and cash out the winnings.

    The three would split the proceeds.

    This did not affect players, as Heltzel only ran the extra added freeplay for the scheme, and didn't steal any of the original freeplay on the cards. They did it this way so players would not become suspicious of missing freeplay and complain, which would have exposed the scheme.

    The stole about $419,000 from the casino this way, using about $480,000 worth of freeplay, during parts of 2014 and 2015.

    This was going undetected, until Crane blew the whistle on them.

    In June 2017, Robert Pellegrini was sentenced to 32 months in prison.

    Robert claimed he was only funding a gambling problem, and that he routinely lost big money at other casinos. He admitted to being the ringleader of the scheme. The judge gave him some mercy because he received several letters about Robert's conduct in everyday life, and it seemed to him that Robert was overall a decent guy (more on that later).

    Mark Heltzel was sentenced to 18 months in the scheme.

    Rochelle Poszeluznyj skated away with only 6 months house arrest and probation, which is kinda laughable. While women do suffer some disadvantages in life, they tend to do far better than men when it comes to criminal sentencing, as the courts are almost always far more lenient on them.

    And despite Pellegrini supposedly being a good dude who just made a mistake, it turned out he has a history of fraud. It was discovered that, before this scheme, he rigged a $10,000 Easter Egg contest in early 2014, and was charged with that in 2018. Again, Mark Heltzel was involved. However, Pellegrini only got probation for that one.

    Anyway, back to Crane.

    He was found dead on September 8, face down in a creek.

    Very suspicious, right?

    Well, now the police are claiming that he simply fell off a railroad trestle, and drowned. While that's possible, I think the police are dismissing it too easily, especially because they don't know exactly why he was walking on that railroad trestle at the time he fell.

    Is it possible he was followed there, and pushed?

    Possibly, but it is important to keep in mind that he didn't rat out the mob. There were only 3 people involved in this scheme, and none of them were sophisticated, hardened criminals. Therefore, graduating to murder AFTER the criminal cases are over seems rather unlikely. Still, I think it deserves more investigation than they appear to have done.

    Mohegan Sun Pocono is located near Wilkes-Barre, PA.

  2. #2
    just goes to show you that a lotta fucking morons work at casinos in finance...

    while I don't know the exact financials of Mohegan, im gonna guess that they are a relatively small casino which should EASILY be able to catch this kinda fraud they ran like $500K of freeplay excess in '14/'15...If that was only 4-5 months Id wager that's a pretty nice increase in free play that accounting/VP of finance/higher up in marketing (I would guess they have a marketing department that was separate from player development, but maybe not since it's a small operation) shoulda raised the red flag on when they were looking at the books at the end of the month...

      Sanlmar: Despite that you’re a good poster.

  3. #3
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    The casino was fined $550,000 for not having proper internal controls to prevent this whole scheme.

    At the same time, they were also fired $450,000 for an unrelated issue of hiring unlicensed vendors.

  4. #4
    Rochelle, Rochelle, Rochelle.

    Girl you should not be showing up in court with a giant LV

  5. #5
    So unfortunate this happened during Druff’s illness

  6. #6
    Cubic Zirconia
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    Las Vegas
    Did these people have mob ties? I can't image that any of the 3 murdered Crane if they were in prison or on house arrest. Maybe the ring leader was answering to some external people or maybe had law enforcement on his payroll allowing him to operate. I can only imagine. This is a sad story.

    Hang in there Druff

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