TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced that five individuals have been indicted for allegedly conspiring to steal a total of $1,120,000 from five Atlantic City casinos by presenting fraudulent bank checks in exchange for an equivalent amount of gaming chips.
The Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau obtained an Atlantic County grand jury indictment yesterday, Oct. 13, charging each of the following defendants with second-degree conspiracy and various counts of second-degree theft by deception and attempted theft by deception:
- Xiuhuan Zhang, 65, of Flushing, N.Y.
- Qingtao Zhang, 53, of Flushing, N.Y.
- Shuai Liu, 30, of College Point, N.Y.
- Peng Cai, 33, of Brooklyn, N.Y.
- Sen Ge, 29, of Flushing, N.Y.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Casino Gaming Bureau and the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau. On Sept. 7, 2021, Qingtao Zhang was detained in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on a warrant obtained in this investigation. The other defendants are being sought on arrest warrants.
From Aug. 26 to Aug. 28, 2021, the two women—Xiuhuan Zhang and Qingtao Zhang—allegedly presented the false checks at the five casinos, and the three men—Liu, Cai, and Ge—allegedly assisted them at various times, along with other individuals who remain under investigation.
At each of the five casinos—Caesars, Borgata, Ocean, Hard Rock, and Golden Nugget—Xiuhuan Zhang allegedly presented a fraudulent TD Bank Official Check for $150,000 to obtain gaming chips, and Qingtao Zhang allegedly presented a fraudulent Bank of America Cashier’s Check for $134,000 to obtain gaming chips. The two checks presented at each casino were identical to the checks presented at the other casinos. In two instances, Xiuhuan Zhang did not obtain chips, because Hard Rock denied the $150,000 check, and Golden Nugget said she could only receive incremental amounts from the check.
The defendants allegedly stole these amounts from the five casinos:
|Caesars Hotel and Casino:||$284,000|
|Borgata Hotel and Casino:||$284,000|
|Ocean Casino Resort:||$134,000|
|Hard Rock Hotel and Casino:||$284,000|
|Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino:||$134,000|
The indictment is posted online at: https://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases21/Zhang-et-al-Indictment.pdf
“The defendants were caught executing a sophisticated financial scheme spanning multiple casinos and over a million dollars in fraudulent checks,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck. “This case is just one example of the excellent work—in this instance across international borders—performed by the members of the New Jersey State Police and Division of Criminal Justice who are assigned to investigate and prosecute crimes in the casinos.”
“The State Police Casino Gaming Bureau and the Division of Criminal Justice Casino Prosecutions Unit routinely work together to investigate and prosecute major cases involving financial fraud, money laundering, or other criminal conduct committed in the casinos in Atlantic City,” said Director Lyndsay V. Ruotolo of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Through their vigilance, expertise, and diligent work, we are holding those responsible for these crimes accountable.”
“This investigation highlights the determination and networking our New Jersey State Police detectives and law enforcement partners share when it comes to tracking down and arresting criminals, no matter how far they attempt to flee,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The arrest of Qingtao Zhang in the Netherlands illustrates the premier working relationship the New Jersey State Police has around the world and our willingness to ensure distance will never become an obstacle when it comes to justice. This was great work by all involved.”
Deputy Attorneys General Nicole E. Wise and Jennifer Fipp are prosecuting the case for the Casino Prosecutions Unit of the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) Specialized Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Valerie Butler, Bureau Chief Erik Daab, and DCJ Deputy Director Annmarie Taggart.
Detective Laura Faulkner is the lead detective in this investigation for the New Jersey State Police Casino Gaming Bureau, Financial Crimes South Unit, under the supervision of Detective Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Effinger and Detective Sgt. 1st Class Vincent Damiani.
Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.