Former Foxwoods Dealer Stays Out of Prison after Confessing Blackjack Scheme
Posted on: August 9, 2019, 03:10h.
Last updated on: August 9, 2019, 01:11h.
An ex-dealer at Foxwoods Resort Casino avoided spending any time in Connecticut prison despite admitting the theft of about $18,000 largely by overpaying a patron in a cheating scheme.
Alysia OLeary, 47, of Hopkinton, Rhode Island, will have to repay the casino $8,000. She was also given five years of probation and a suspended sentence Wednesday by New London, Connecticut Judge Hillary B. Strackbein.
Earlier, OLeary pleaded guilty to third-degree larceny and cheating at gambling. Other charges related to prior incidents were not prosecuted.
We’ll be watching you to see if you do the right thing,” the judge warned the defendant in court, The Day reported. Strackbein also cautioned her not to steal “as much as a toothpick.”
Prosecutors wanted her sentenced for nine months. The larceny charge alone carries a maximum sentence of one year to five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine under state law.
Most of the thefts from the Ledyard tribal casino took place in December 2016. Police and casino staff had OLeary under surveillance after it was suspected she was cheating at blackjack.
In just 90 minutes, she allegedly made 68 overpayments totaling $11,275 to Melinda Puzon, a patron at the casino.
OLeary allegedly paid Puzon for losing bets. She also failed to collect for tie or losing bets, and gave her gaming chips, a court affidavit claimed.
The pair was later arrested. A judge agreed to give Puzon accelerated rehabilitation, a Connecticut probation program whereby offenders have charges dismissed and no conviction appears on their records.
OLeary was also charged in connection with seven other incidents in October 2016 and November 2016. They also involved cheating.
Connecticut authorities chose not to prosecute the seven charges. In March, OLeary was arrested on unrelated burglary and larceny charges for allegedly stealing items from a garage in Norwich, Connecticut.
Connecticut Prosecutor Wanted Prison Time
New London Assistant State’s Attorney Stephen M. Carney told the judge OLeary “appears to be a person who takes what doesn’t belong to her,” The Day reported. “My reason for asking for a modest amount of jail time is not just because it’s a significant amount of money, but it’s over a significant amount of time.”
OLeary’s attorney, Stephen E. Reck of New London, argued for the suspended sentence. His client had no criminal record, is employed, and was able to save $3,393 toward restitution.
She has financial demands, he pointed out. OLeary is getting a divorce, needs to make mortgage payments, and supports her children.
A daughter submitted a letter to the court which praised OLeary as a mother. Strackbein told OLeary she ought to be a role model for her children.
Before getting appointed a judge, Strackbein was a prosecutor in the Bridgeport Juvenile Court for 13 years.
Dealer Cheating Found Nationwide in Casinos
OLeary is not the only casino dealer or employee to get arrested for alleged cheating in table games. On the opposite coast from Connecticut, Steven Darnell Singer, 19, who was a dealer at Clearwater Casino in Suquamish in Washington State, was arrested in January on a charge of first-degree cheating.
It involved the game of 21, where he would allegedly peek at cards. He would then send a signal to patrons if they should ask for another card, the Kitsap Sun reported.
The outcome of the case against Singer could not be immediately determined. He faced up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
In June, a former dealer at the Isle Casino Hotel in Waterloo, Iowa, was arrested on a charge of altering the outcome of a gambling game. Jordan Michael Makinster, 27, of Gilbertville, Iowa allegedly used bad shuffles to stack decks in players’ favor.
The scheme let him get bigger tips, according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. That case is pending in state court.
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