Final Defendant Pleads Guilty in Scheme Defrauding Indian Casinos, Credit Card Companies

February 1, 2018 |

A Georgia woman entered a guilty plea yesterday at U.S. District Court in Sacramento as part of a nationwide fraud case.

Vivian Wang, 54, of Alpharetta, Georgia, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft related to a nationwide casino and credit card scheme. Among the casinos victimized were Cache Creek, Red Hawk and Thunder Valley.  

Between August 2008 and August 2014, Wang and co-defendant Frank Luo, 49, of Las Vegas, Nevada, participated in a scheme to defraud casinos and credit card companies across the country. The scheme involved using false identities in the names and Social Security numbers of migrant workers to apply for casino credit called “markers” and to open credit card accounts.

A marker is a cash advance provided by a casino to a patron, and it is often secured by a check from the patron’s bank account. Wang and Luo initially timely repaid several markers at different casinos and several credit cards in order to give the impression of creditworthiness to future casinos and credit card companies.

Wang and Luo then recruited “clients” to participate in the scheme to induce the casinos and credit card companies to part with even more money under fraudulent pretenses. Wang, and others working with her, coordinated their gambling activity in order to give the appearance of losing money (and thereby encouraging the casinos to issue future markers) when in fact one schemer would “lose” money while another would gain the same.

In other instances, one schemer would surreptitiously deliver the issued gambling chips to another in order to give the appearance of having spent them. At the end of the scheme, Wang and her co-schemers did not repay the casino markers or the significant outstanding credit card balances accrued in a short amount of time once creditworthiness had been established. The combined fraud led to over $1.1 million in losses to casinos and credit card companies.

Co-defendant Luo pleaded guilty, and on August 23, 2017, he was sentenced to three years in prison. Wang is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Kimberly J. Mueller on May 16, 2018 and faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for wire fraud, and a mandatory minimum of two years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine for aggravated identity theft.

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