The Chicago Syndicate

Friday, December 06, 2019

Casino Baccarat Dealer Sentenced to Federal Prison for Participating in a Cheating Scheme

U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm sentenced Ming Zhang, age 32, of Alexandria, Virginia, to 18 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to transport stolen funds, in connection with a scheme to defraud Maryland casinos by cheating at the game of baccarat. The total loss caused by Zhang and his co-conspirators was $1,046,560. Judge Grimm also entered an order requiring Zhang to pay restitution in the total amount of the loss.

According to Zhang’s plea agreement, Zhang worked as a dealer at Casino 1 in Maryland. Zhang’s role in the conspiracy was to alert co-conspirator A as to when Zhang was scheduled to deal baccarat at the casino. Baccarat is a card game in which players compare the value of two hands of cards—a “player” and a “dealer” hand. Each card has a point value, and before any cards are dealt, bettors place bets on which hand will be closest to nine. The dealer then distributes the cards between the player and dealer hands according to fixed rules. If a bettor knows the order in which cards appear in the deck, they can predict the outcome of any given baccarat hand with near-perfect accuracy and place their bets accordingly.

Specifically, Zhang admitted that he notified co-conspirator A that he would be dealing baccarat at Casino 1 on September 27, 2017. Once co-conspirator A arrived at the baccarat table at which Zhang was dealing, Zhang exposed a portion of the baccarat deck to co-conspirator A and allowed the co-conspirator to take a picture of the deck, then placed that portion unshuffled into the “shoe,” which is a plastic box that keeps the cards in order until they are dealt. Co-Conspirator A and other players placed large bets when the unshuffled portion of the deck came into play.

On September 28, 2017, Zhang lied to investigators at Casino 1 about his knowledge of and participation in the cheating scheme.

Zhang admitted that between July and September 2017, he was present with co-conspirator A and other co-conspirators when they executed the scheme at Casino 2, which was also in Maryland. In August 2017, Zhang met with co-conspirator A at a hotel near Casino 2 and learned how to execute the scheme. Co-conspirator A agreed that Zhang would receive a percentage of the winnings for participating in the scheme and Zhang did benefit financially from executing the scheme.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

MAX PAYNE 3 Returns

  • Experience the latest and most grim chapter to date in the Max Payne saga, in crystal clarity of a Next-Gen console 
  • An explosive multiplayer experience, bringing Max Payne's signature Shootdodge and Bullet Time gameplay, along with a range of new and expanded special abilities into the arena of competitive online multiplayer 
  • A wide range of firearms and other weapons that can be dual-wielded 
  • A dark storyline full of seedy characters and gangs to interact and battle with 
  • Enjoy special game-related features including soundtrack info, PlayStation Trophies, and special events and contest opportunities for fans and Rockstar Games Social Club members

Nephew of John Dillinger, Who Planned Documentary on The History Channel, Has Lawsuit against Cemetery Dismissed

A nephew of 1930s gangster John Dillinger needs a cemetery's permission to exhume the notorious criminal's Indianapolis gravesite to prove whether he's actually buried there
, a judge ruled Wednesday in dismissing the nephew's lawsuit against the cemetery.

Marion County Superior Court Judge Timothy Oakes granted Crown Hill Cemetery's motion to dismiss Michael Thompson's lawsuit, saying Indiana law requires the cemetery's consent.

“The limited question before the Court today is whether disinterment may occur under this section of the statute without cemetery approval. Court finds that the statutory requirements for this section of the statute are clear in that disinterment requires the cemetery owner to give consent before disinterment may occur," Oakes wrote. He added that Indiana law “does not require that the cemetery have a valid, rational, or meaningful reason" for withholding its consent.

Thompson sued the cemetery in August after it objected to his plans to exhume the grave as part of a television documentary. Thompson has said he has evidence Dillinger's body may not be buried there, and that he may not have been the man FBI agents fatally shot outside a Chicago theater on July 22, 1934. The History Channel dropped out of the planned documentary in September.

Attorneys for Crown Hill Cemetery call that “a decades-old conspiracy theory.” They opposed the exhumation, saying in court documents that Indiana’s Legislature has granted cemetery owners the right to “protect its gravesites from unwarranted disturbance.”

Alice McKenzie Morical, an attorney for Crown Hill Cemetery’s management company, said during Wednesday’s hearing that there was an autopsy after Dillinger’s fatal shooting and relatives identified him before his burial. “His close family believed it was him and they wanted him in the family plot,” she said.

The cemetery's management company said in a statement that it’s pleased with Wednesday's ruling and it “continues to object to the disinterment of John Dillinger.”

The FBI insists it's a "myth" that its agents didn't kill Dillinger and that "a wealth of information supports Dillinger's demise," including fingerprint matches.

Thompson obtained an Indiana State Department of Health permit in October that calls for the remains to be exhumed on Dec. 31.

Thompson’s attorney, Andrea Simmons, told the court that her client obtained a large number of FBI files that raise serious questions about whether it is Dillinger's body buried at the hilltop cemetery. “There is strong reason to believe that he’s not the person in the grave," she said.

Oakes said Wednesday that he questioned the cemetery’s contention that the exhumation would be disruptive. “I don’t buy into the cemetery’s reasons, but under the statute they don’t have to have a reason that is rational,” he said.

Oakes dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice. Under Indiana law, Thompson’s attorney have 10 days to file an amended complaint citing a different section of Indiana’s law governing exhumations or 30 days to appeal the decision to a higher court. “It may be several weeks before a final decision is made what to do next,” Simmons said in a statement.

A few days after his 1934 burial, Dillinger's father had his casket covered with a protective cap of concrete and scrap iron topped by four reinforced-concrete slabs to prevent vandals from trying to dig him up, according to Susan Sutton, a historian with the Indiana Historical Society.

Some surviving family members still object to Thompson's plan.

Dillinger's great-great niece, Stephanie Samuels, said after Wednesday's hearing that she and other relatives planned to file a formal complaint objecting to any exhumation. “This should never have gotten this far. I think it’s very disgraceful to the family, everything to do with it,” she said. “And there is very much family against this."

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

FBI Files Show Links of Legendary Underworld Figure Meyer Lansky to Chicago

Meyer Lansky was a powerful New York underworld figure involved in the mob’s efforts to create a nationwide network of gangsters and control casino gambling in Las Vegas and, in the pre-Castro era, Cuba.

Sometimes called the “mob’s accountant,” he was associated with big-name hoods like Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and Charles “Lucky” Luciano. And Lansky was said to be the inspiration for the Hyman Roth character in The Godfather Part II who, through actor Lee Strasberg, famously said of the mob: “We’re bigger than U.S. Steel.”

FBI records — now part of “The FBI Files” database by the Chicago Sun-Times — also reveal he had a lot of connections to Chicago, even supposedly living here for a time.

“Over the past twenty-five years the subject has resided in the major cities of the United States for short periods of time, especially in Miami Beach, Florida, Las Vegas, Nevada, Los Angeles, California, New Orleans, Louisiana, Chicago, Illinois, and Omaha, Nebraska,” reads one old but undated FBI record.

His grandson and namesake, Meyer Lansky II, disputes that, saying in a recent interview that Lansky “never lived in Chicago,” though he did go “there a lot because he was very good friends with Paul Ricca, who he named my dad after, actually.”

Ricca ran the Chicago mob after Al Capone and Frank Nitti, all of whose FBI files are also in the Sun-Times’ portal.

Lansky and Luciano were with Ricca in Chicago when they were rounded up by police in 1932 — during Prohibition when booze was outlawed and alcohol-selling mobsters flourished — and photographed, according to a Lansky biography called “Meyer Lansky: The Thinking Man’s Gangster.”

They were “probably on a bootlegging business trip” to Chicago when surprised “by an enterprising detective” and “lined up in front of the camera in their best hats and overcoats,” according to the book.

“Charlie managed a slight smile, but Meyer did not look amused one bit.”

An FBI record from 1954 says Lansky was “one of the group of top hoodlums, who controls the rackets, specifically the Eastern District . . . He also continues to act in an advisory manner for racketeers throughout the country.”

The same record said “Lansky still travels extensively on business to Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas and Hot Springs.”

Meyer and Siegel “had their first big start in the early 1920s at which time they were hired by Dutch Goldberg, Charlie Kramer and Bill Heisman as convoy guards for alcohol trucks running from New York City to Chicago, Illinois,” according to another federal record, from 1957.

Lansky died in 1983 an underworld icon.

“When FBI agents raided the New Jersey operations room of the Lucchese crime family . . . in the mid-1980s, they found two black-and-white icons on the wall: a photograph of Al Capone and, alongside it, a photograph of Meyer Lansky — the twin patron saints,” according to the book, by Robert Lacey.

“Capone stood for all the traditional violence and toughness of U.S. urban crime” while Lansky “stood for the brains, the sophistication . . . the sheer cleverness of it all.”

FBI Files: A New Database of @FBI Files Compiled by the Chicago @SunTimes #FBI

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