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Richard Habib and Luis Madrid were sentenced today (March 15) for their role in a scam that promised investors annual returns of 14% to 96%. They headed Corporate Funding Financial of America, which said it could develop profitable commercial and residential projects in Little Italy. Madrid got 96 months and Habib 46 months in a case prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office. The scam was originally reported on this site before criminal investigators got interested.

Separately, Sterling Wayne Pirtle was sentenced to serve 57 months and Ronald Allen Fisher 63 months for their role in a $70 million fraudulent equipment leasing scam pulled by their company Commercial Money Center. Before the company went bankrupt, it obtained more than $300 million from financial institutions through sale of sub-prime equipment lease pools.

Phuong Quoc Truong was sentenced to 70 months in federal court in San Diego for his role in the Tran Organization, which cheated gambling casinos around the country. There have been other indictments in this case. The defendants created a "false shuffle" cheating scheme at casinos, bribing casino card dealers and supervisors to perform false shuffles in blackjack and mini-baccarat games. Among the casinos cheated by the gang were Sycuan and Barona in San Diego County and Pechanga in Temecula.

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Comments

SurfPuppy619 March 16, 2010 @ 12:16 p.m.

I am glad Richard Habib and Luis Madrid were given long prison terms, and in federal prison they will do 85% of the time, no parole.

As for the casino scams, as much as I hate scamming I am not going to lose sleep that the Indian casinos lost some money through a scam.

Organized gambling is a scam all the way around-only this time the casino was scammed.

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Don Bauder March 16, 2010 @ 4:01 p.m.

Response to post #1: I feel the same way about somebody scamming a casino. It seems to me that the casinos have plenty of security personnel; why should taxpayers pick up the tab for crooks scamming gambling dens? It's true that the casinos are legal, but it still seems to me that policing the gambling should be the job of the casino. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell March 16, 2010 @ 7:37 p.m.

It's true that the casinos are legal, but it still seems to me that policing the gambling should be the job of the casino. Best, Don Bauder

It should be legal to defraud a casino. The only legal remedy a casino should have against a scamster is to ban him from the premises. Remember that San Diegan who inherited a big construction company and tons of cash and then sued a Vegas casino because he lost millions at blackjack?

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David Dodd March 16, 2010 @ 8:18 p.m.

"Remember that San Diegan who inherited a big construction company and tons of cash and then sued a Vegas casino because he lost millions at blackjack?"

Stephen Roel, he lost about a million. Apparently it was settled out of court, terms undisclosed.

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Don Bauder March 16, 2010 @ 10:09 p.m.

Response to post #3: Of course, when the government catches mobsters skimming money out of casinos, it throws the book at them, or tries to do so. That is the way several Mafiosi have been nabbed. So maybe my original observation was wrong. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 16, 2010 @ 10:11 p.m.

Response to post #4: I don't remember that one. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 17, 2010 @ 9:30 a.m.

Response to post #7: Advice: 1. Don't go to Vegas; 2. If you do, don't imbibe. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK March 18, 2010 @ 8:50 a.m.

"Of course, when the government catches mobsters skimming money out of casinos, it throws the book at them"

IMHO mainly because the gov is not getting the tax owed.

Indian casinos don't have to conform to the rules of the state or city

case in point, all the smoking in the casino.

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Don Bauder March 18, 2010 @ 8:58 a.m.

Response to post #9: The reservations are sovereign countries. People injured on the site, or contractors not paid for their work, may not get justice. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 March 20, 2010 @ 4:25 p.m.

"Of course, when the government catches mobsters skimming money out of casinos, it throws the book at them"

IMHO mainly because the gov is not getting the tax owed.

I think the real reason is because government hates competition!

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Don Bauder March 20, 2010 @ 6:52 p.m.

Response to post #11: Well, the tax collector certainly doesn't want potential tax receipts to disappear into offshore havens. As you say, the tax man skims; nobody else should. Best, Don Bauder

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