Mohegan Sun Fined $1 Million In Wake Of Loyalty Club Scam, License Issues

Written By Marty Derbyshire on December 19, 2017 - Last Updated on October 17, 2022
metal lock on pile of credit cards

[toc]Mohegan Sun Pocono was fined $1 million by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) last week, in part due to the Pennsylvania casino’s role in a $420,000 loyalty club scam occurring in 2014 and 2015.

According to court documents, the scam involved Mohegan Sun Pocono waitress Rochelle Poszeluznyj recording the names and loyalty club personal identification numbers of players while she served them drinks. Poszeluznyj would then pass on the information to Mohegan Sun Pocono Vice President for Player Development Robert Pellegrini.

Pellegrini used the info to print duplicate player club cards. He then loaded them up with free play credits. He would then pass these on to local gambler Mark Heltzel.

Heltzel gambled with the free play credits at slots and video poker machines. He turned $478,000 in free play credits into $420,147 in profits. This occurred over an 11-month period from May 2014 to April 2015.

The Pennsylvania courts determined Pellegrini was the ring leader. He plead guilty on charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The court sentenced him to 32 months in federal prison this past June.

Heltzel plead guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison in August. Poszeluznyj took a plea deal. She must started serving two years probation with the first six months on house arrest in September.

Mohegan Sun fined $550,000

Last week, the PGCB fined Mohegan Sun Pocono $550,000. This was in part for failing to follow approved internal controls regarding the issuance of free slot play. In fact, the PGCB said this failure directly resulted in the fraudulent scheme.

The fine was also issued in part for failing to follow approved internal controls regarding the casino’s main bank cashier functions and internal audits.

A PGCB investigation also found a casino employee inflated jackpot amounts owed on forms handed to the main cage. He then pocketed the difference. This happened more than 300 times between May 2014 and September 2015. It ultimately led to the theft of more than $26,000.

The PGCB also said Mohegan Sun Pocono personnel failed to submit six audits required under its license. This occurred between 2012 and 2016.

Companies, employees not licensed to conduct casino business

Mohegan Sun Pocono also racked up an additional $450,000 fine. This stemmed from its vendor relationship with two firms not licensed to do business with casinos in the state.

One of the businesses, ReferLocal, offered deals for the buffet and free slots play at at Mohegan Sun Pocono. ReferLocal is in part owned by former Mohegan Sun Pocono president Bobby Soper.

Soper was fined $60,000 last month for failing to properly disclose this and other business interests to gaming regulators.

The second company is CB POC LLC, which operates the Johnny Rockets, Betty & Joe’s Coffee Shop, and Wok8 restaurants at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Neither company or its employees were licensed with the PGCB as required by law.

That fine plus the one for conspiracy means Mohegan Sun Pocono owes seven figures to PGCB.

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Marty Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.

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