Alleged Las Vegas Casino Conman and Serial Escapee Mark Georgantas Back in Court Facing 25 Years
Posted on: January 16, 2019, 09:30h.
Last updated on: January 16, 2019, 08:48h.
A man accused of scamming Las Vegas casino customers with “foolproof,” get-rich-quick gambling schemes finally appeared in a Nevada courtroom on Monday, five months after he went on the lam in a bid to avoid an earlier date with a district court judge.
And it was some appearance. According to The Las Vegas Review-Journal, Mark Georgantas, 56, was pushed into court in a wheelchair, clutching papers, and claiming he hadn’t seen his lawyer in 5 months.
Georgantas — posing as his alter ego, a flamboyantly-dressed “creative gambling enthusiast” known as “Mr. Smooth” — allegedly persuaded at least two tourists to part with just over $350,000, guaranteeing that he would spin them up a profit on the baccarat, blackjack, craps, and roulette tables of Las Vegas.
According to court filings, he claimed he would always leave a casino with a profit, which proved to be an exaggeration.
Once you experience winning with the ‘Biggins Craps System’ you will never look at gaming the same. Talk about living the dream,” he proclaimed in his promotional emails. “Where else can you fall out of bed, go downstairs to a table, win, and go to cashier? No employees, no boss, no inventory, no hassle. Pure cash, baby!”
Plea Deal Up in Smoke
The picture in court on Monday was consistent with Georgantas’ official excuse for missing his August trial hearing — that he suffered from “debilitating hip issues” and had been hospitalized. Although he recovered sufficiently to go on the run to rural central Utah, where he was discovered by police in November living under the name “Todd Wolf” with an oblivious family he had met at a local Denny’s.
Georgantas has a history of making colorful disappearances when the heat gets uncomfortable. But by skipping town this time, he has sacrificed a plea deal, agreed with prosecutors in October, in which he promised to admit to one count of theft. This would have seen him serve a prison sentence of between two to five years — instead, he could face up to a quarter of a century in prison.
As previously hinted, this is not Georgantas’ first rodeo. In 2003, while awaiting trial for grand theft and conspiracy to defraud, he escaped from an Orange County jail after scaling a 15-foot barbed-wire fence and crawling through a storm drain. He was apprehended shortly afterwards in a stolen car following a police chase.
In 2006, he was arrested with a briefcase full of stolen credit card information, which he had used to make fraudulent purchases for his fireplace business, Fire On Ice. He punched the arresting officer in the face and served eight months in prison.
Three years later, he escaped from a courtroom in California as he was standing trial on more credit card fraud charges.
He is scheduled for sentencing early next month.
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