Casino Claims Cheaters Took It for $1.2 Million


     LAKE CHARLES, La. (CN) - Croupiers helped two men cheat a casino of $1.2 million by letting them place late bets at the roulette wheel, the casino claims in court.
     PNK (Lake Charles) LLC sued Charbel Tannous, Constandi Lubbat, Derrick Weldon, and Stephen Mouton, in Federal Court.
     PNK, a subsidiary of Nevada-based Pinnacle Entertainment, operates L'Auberge du Lac Casino (LDL) in Lake Charles.
     It claims that its former croupiers, Weldon and Mouton, helped Tannous and Lubbat, of Texas, rig roulette games at the casino in early 2011.
     "Between January and May, 2011, defendants Weldon and Mouton were employed by PNK at LDL as roulette dealers," the complaint states. "Weldon and Mouton allowed defendants Tannous and Lubbat to place late bets at a roulette wheel at LDL, defrauding PNK of funds totaling approximately one million two hundred thousand dollars ($1,200,000.00).
     "More particularly, Tannous offered cash to Weldon and Mouton if they would assist him in cheating PNK at the roulette table; Weldon and Mouton agreed.
     "Between January and May, 2011, Weldon and Mouton allowed Tannous and Lubbat to place bets after the roulette ball had dropped into the winning number slot, thus allowing Tannous and Lubbat to place chips on the number knowing it was a winner. This procedure is known as 'past posting.'
     "Defendant Lubbat also acted as a lookout for Tannous to make sure that the pit boss was not specifically watching the roulette wheel while they were cheating PNK.
     "As a result of this conspiracy and fraudulent activity by the defendants, PNK lost approximately one million two hundred thousand dollars ($1,200,000.00) between January and May, 2011."
     PNK claims the defendants were federally charged in June 2011 with one count of conspiracy and seven counts of wire fraud, for conspiring to rig roulette games at the casino. All four pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge, according to the complaint.
     PNK wants the money back, with interest, and treble damages for fraud, fraudulent breach of fiduciary duty, breach of employment and gaming contracts, and RICO violations.
     It is represented by Robert Murphy with Murphy, Rogers, Sloss & Gambel of New Orleans.