A blackjack dealer and two casino guests were arrested recently for allegedly committing gaming fraud at the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino. Lackawanna’s Emily M. Torres, 20 — as well as two Buffalo men: Mark M. Watson, 28; and Rahat Hossain, 34 — faces charges of first-degree gaming fraud for their actions last month.
According to investigators, both players won thousands of dollars playing blackjack at the New York casino late into the night on Aug. 14. The two supposedly received plenty of help from the Seneca employee, as reports show that Torres continuously showed the men her face cards.
Both Watson and Hossain already paid back their sizable winnings from that evening. They combined to return more than $7,400 when their arrest became official.
Gaming fraud at Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino
According to police, and as reported by The Buffalo News, Watson and Hossain had racked up over $5,200 and $2,200, respectively, playing blackjack at Seneca Buffalo Creek over the course of nearly three hours.
However, surveillance video indicated to police that the dealer, Torres, continued to show players cards they were not supposed to see.
Officials said Torres allegedly showed the players the face cards before they made their final plays. This provided the players with an unfair advantage and violated the rules of casino gaming in New York.
Over the next few days, police arrested the three individuals in question, who have since been charged with felony gaming fraud.
According to prosecutors, both Watson ($5,287.50) and Hossain ($2,210) made full restitution to the casino. The two players, as well as Torres, have also been permanently banned from Seneca Gaming Corp. properties.
Suspects await October trial for gaming fraud at NY casino
The three individuals arrested at the Buffalo casino now have their court dates set for next month. The dealer, Torres, as well as Watson, attend court on Oct. 12. Hossain’s felony hearing is about a week prior, slated for Oct. 6.
All of them recently appeared before a Buffalo City Court before returning to their actual hearings. If charged with these crimes, each could earn a year’s time in jail.
All three got released on their own recognizance, which means they can remain not incarcerated until the trial without posting bail. The court did order them to stay away from the Buffalo casino, in addition to any other Seneca gaming locations.
The fact that there aren’t that many retail NY casinos helps, but gaming fraud cases are rare within the Empire State. Information from the NY Division of Criminal Justice Services claims that just four individuals got arrested from these charges from Jan. 2017 through this past June. Three of the four cases were filed as felonies, while one went in as a misdemeanor. The charge increases to a felony when the monetary value stolen tops $1,000 within NY state law.