Mohegan Sun Pocono Dealt Record Fine Over Casino Slots Fraud Debacle

Posted on: December 14, 2017, 05:00h. 

Last updated on: December 14, 2017, 04:57h.

The Mohegan Sun Pocono was slapped with a $1 million fine this week, the largest penalty ever doled out by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) since the regulator’s 2004 inception.

Mohegan Sun Pocono receives record fine in Pennsylvania
The Mohegan Sun Pocono’s youthful former CEO Bobby Soper, who resigned in February in the midst of the PGCB investigation over financial irregularities at the casino, Soper failed to declare personal interests in two business engaged by the casino, one of which had no gaming license. (Image: MSP)

A $550,000 penalty was imposed for the casino’s “failure to follow internal controls,” which PGCB maintained facilitated the orchestration of a $420,000 scam, masterminded by one of its own executives.

The remaining $450,000 was laid for the casino’s engagement of the services of companies that did not possess required licensing from the state.

$420,000 Loyalty Bonus Card Scam

In June, Robert Pellegrini, the casino’s former VP of Player Development, was sentenced to 32 months imprisonment for a fraudulent slots scheme that used stolen customer loyalty card PIN numbers to allow an accomplice to play slots at the casino for free.

The regulator concluded the casino had failed to adequately track its loyalty scheme slots play.

According to court documents, between May 2014 and April 2015, Rochelle Poszeluznyj, a cocktail waitress, would note down customers’ numbers as she served them drinks. She would then pass these numbers on to Pellegrini, who would create fake cards and load them with complementary spins.

A third accomplice, Mark Joseph Heltzel, would use the bogus loyalty rewards to play casino’s slots, splitting the winnings between the three members of the group. All three are currently serving prison sentences.

Fingers in Pies

The remainder of the fine related largely to the casino’s relationships with two unlicensed firms: ReferLocal, an e-commerce marketing company, and CB POC, which operates the eating establishments Johnny Rockets, Betty & Joe’s Coffee Shop, and Wok8 at the Mohegan Sun.

Despite presiding over a strong growth period, the casino’s CEO Robert Soper resigned in February, before the PGBC’s investigation into this matter had concluded.

In November, he was fined $60,000 for his failure to disclose that he had personal business interests in ReferLocal and another company whose services had been engaged by the casino.

Meanwhile, the main bank violation was related to an incident in which an employee had misreported the amount a customer had won, inflating the sum and pocketing the difference.

The PGCB said the Mohegan Sun had failed to safeguard its assets at least 314 times between May 2014 and September 2015.

“[Mohegan Sun Pocono] …  took immediate action to correct the issues both found by the PGCB and self-reported,” a spokesman for the casino said this week. “We take great pride in their acknowledgement of our corrective measures and complete cooperation. As an organization, we are glad to have this resolved and are focused on the future.”