Puerto Rican Casinos’ Roulette Machines Alleged Rigger on the Run

Posted on: May 11, 2023, 03:30h. 

Last updated on: November 20, 2023, 02:43h.

Authorities in Puerto Rico have finally presented charges against a man they identified last December as a casino thief. Edmanuel Victoria was rigging electronic roulette machines across the island, and the authorities’ delay in delivering their case likely stems from their belief that Victoria wasn’t acting alone.

Edmanuel Victoria's mugshot photos from an arrest for marijuana possession in Florida
Edmanuel Victoria’s mugshot photos from an arrest for marijuana possession in Florida. He faces charges of rigging electronic roulette machines in Puerto Rico, but has disappeared. (Image: Miami-Dade County Police via mugshots.zone)

Media outlet El Globo reported that the Puerto Rico Department of Justice filed charges this Wednesday against Victoria, accusing him of manipulating an electronic roulette wheel at the Tropical Casino in Bayamón. He allegedly stole more than $43K by tricking the machine to repeatedly give him free credit.

However, the case may be much bigger. Victoria, a Florida resident and native Cuban, also faces charges for a similar incident at the Marriott Hotel in Condado, Puerto, Rico. He could be working for a large criminal syndicate. In order to prosecute him, though, the authorities first have to find him.

Spinning Their Wheels

Prosecutors stated that Victoria visited the casino on two different dates in December of last year to execute his fraudulent scheme, obtaining illegal unlimited bets and collecting his illicit winnings. He now faces two counts of fraud and two counts of aggravated illegal appropriation in violation of the Puerto Rican Penal Code for his actions.

The investigation originated from the Property and Fraud Division of the San Juan Criminal Investigation Corps. Subsequently, it was sent to the Department of Justice once investigators realized that the case may be larger than they thought.

As a result, a court judge determined cause for arrest and imposed a bail of $400K on Victoria. He also faces charges in the District of San Juan for the other scheme, through which he illegally collected more than $19,100. The San Juan Court of First Instance confirmed the charges and issued an arrest warrant after he missed a preliminary hearing on April 12.

Depending on how the authorities want to proceed, Victoria is looking at spending a lot of time in prison. The charges in Bayamón and Condado are each good for a sentence of between three and eight years.

On the Run

What will have to be decided is if Victoria deserves consecutive or concurrent sentences. It’s a moot point for now, though, since Victoria is on the run. Investigators in the Bayamón case were able to identify him through casino surveillance footage. But he fled before they could move in to arrest him.

Victoria was arrested following his exploits at the Marriott in Condado. Because prosecutors had to build their case, he was released on bail. That may have proven to be a fatal error.

If the elusive criminal is working for a criminal organization, as authorities suspect, investigators are likely just spinning their wheels looking for him. He may have already escaped to somewhere else or had help with a permanent disappearing act.

The advantage of electronic gaming machines (EGM) is that it’s easier for casinos to detect unusual patterns in their payouts. This has tripped up criminals over the years, including several in Spain.

For that reason, it’s not common for the EGMs to become targets. When casinos report any usual patterns, authorities look for connections. This is what likely transpired in Victoria’s case. If he was able to collect more than $50K with relative ease on just a few occasions, there could be hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen money involved.