DOJ Indicts 33 Individuals Involved in Illicit Poker Games in New York City

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice announced that 33 individuals have been indicted in connection with illegal poker games taking place in New York City. Several charges were filed against those supposedly involved including fraud, racketeering, organizing the poker games, firearms, stolen property and narcotics. Some were even charged with allegedly hacking into slot machines at casinos.

Joon Kim, the Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney, commented on the indictments by stating that they include charges against the supposed head of the national crime syndicate. The leader, known as a Russian ‘vor’, is the first to have federal racketeering charges brought against them in the United States.

Reportedly, the organized criminal group has been involved in several schemes including a plot to rob individuals with seduction and chloroform drugging as well as murder-for-hire, cargo shipment theft plus using electronic hacking devices to affect casino slot games. It was because of a partnership with the NYPD, FBI and CBP that the charges have been filed and 33 defendants arrested who are reportedly involved in the group.

Casinos involved in the fraud scam include those located in Philadelphia as well as Atlantic City. The individuals who hacked the slot machines at the casinos would use electronic devices along with computer servers to be able to predict the outcome as well as exploit certain behaviors of the machines.

If convicted, the majority of the individuals face prison time. The reported leader of the crime syndicate is named Razhden Shulaya. Shulaya is known as a ‘vor’ in the indictment papers which means ‘thief-in-law’ in Russian. In this position, Shulaya was considered to have substantial influence within the criminal underworld and offered his assistance to members and associates of the syndicate as well as protection, according to the indictment.

During the investigation, the investigators relied on informers to cooperate and provide information which led to the numerous arrests as charges filed.

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