This year Easter and April Fool’s Day coincided. However, in 2014, a scam at Mohegan Sun Pocono over Easter was not a prank.
This month, former Mohegan Sun executive Robert Pellegrini was arraigned on charges related to the scam. Pellegrini allegedly tried to rig a $10,000 Easter promotion at the Pennsylvania casino.
Pellegrini was charged with the following:
- Receipt of stolen property
- Criminal conspiracy to commit money laundering
Interestingly enough, Pellegrini is currently serving a nearly three-year sentence on charges related to an entirely different scam at the casino.
Promotion featured a $10,000 plastic egg
Per details in the Times Leader, the promotion featured a basket of plastic eggs containing various prizes. Allegedly, Pellegrini conspired to rig the contest so a particular customer selected the winning egg, which included a $10,000 cash prize. After the contest, the winner, Mark Heltzel, supposedly kicked back some of the winnings to Pellegrini and his two associates.
Heltzel was not arraigned on any charges.
This is the second casino scam tied to Pellegrini
During his time at Mohegan Sun, Pellegrini served as the VP of Player Development for the property. He is currently serving time for an entirely different scam he ran at the casino.
This con also involved Heltzel. The two, along with a cocktail server, stole PIN numbers off of player rewards cards at the property. Pellegrini would use these numbers to load free credit onto duplicate player rewards cards. He then gave those to Heltzel to play.
From 2014 to 2015, Heltzel gambled with almost $480,000 in free play credits, generating $420,000 in profits.
The courts determined Pellegrini was the ringleader behind the scam and sentenced him to 32 months in federal prison. He began serving that sentence last June.
While Heltzel is not currently facing charges in the Easter scam, he was sentenced to 18 months for his role in the player fraud activity.
Will these mean more fines for Mohegan Sun?
As a result of the loyalty scam, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) fined the casino $550,000. This fine came at the same time as the casino racked up a $450,000 fine for working with two vendors that did not have the proper casino licenses.
There are no convictions in the Easter scam as of now. However, as with any fraud issues at a casino, there will almost certainly be a PGCB investigation.
Certainly, it appears as though Pellegrini was a bad egg who is no longer an employee at the casino. However, with so many incidents in a short period of time, there are questions about how seriously Mohegan Sun is taking gaming integrity these days.