Last month three professional players of British origin were sentenced between 10 and 30 months in prison for cheating at roulette. Their crime is to have cheated while playing this game of roulette in a Monte Carlo casino.
Apart from this imprisonment, these world-class players have also been fined €850,000 they will pay the SBM (Société des bains de mer) which was a civil party in the trial that was held at the Monaco court. It must be said that these professionals have succeeded to extract an amount of €3,660,000 from the Casino through their deception. The tactic they used was quite simple: they hid worthless chips of €10 from a previous game, for later reusing them but this time as chips worth €1,000.
Very talented scammers
An English roulette table entertains up to 7 players, each with the ability to choose the value and color of the chips he uses. In this regard Christian Ollier, head of the Games Control Service of the Government of Monaco, informs that the dealers did not verify the exact amount of chips that players put into play. He has stressed that it is this negligence attributable to SBM that cheaters were able to exploit. As a specialist in the field, he admits that the players in question were very good on this one.
The mastermind is a Pakistani aged 49 answering to the name of Sajid Rashid. The eldest of the trio, he showed some surprise at the charges against him, claiming that he saw dozens of people keep their chips during his playing career. The least we can say is that this is a professional, because he says he has been playing for over 30 years and has played at many casinos around the world.
30 months jail time
Sajid Rashid was using up to 28 different identities to play in London, and was excluded for life from all casinos in the city. He has also been sentenced to 14 months imprisonment in his own country, again for cheating. His greatest accomplice in Monaco was a 26 years old British by the name of Qamar Hussain.
The two accomplices were sentenced to a term of thirty month imposed by the court of the Principality of Monaco. The third member of the band has got ten months imprisonment in view of his late participation in the operation. This is Zahidul Haque Khan, a 45 years old family man from Bangladesh. Although he denied having participated in any cheating, a surveillance camera clearly shows 5 times tokens hidden inside his pocket. Yet he continued to shout in a broken English that all he had done was going to get a cigarette and some food.
Special treatment for these high rollers in Monaco
These three protagonists enjoyed the status of big players and were housed and fed nicely in one of the hotels of Monaco’s Société des bains de mer. They deserved that recognition as Sajid stated losing 200,000 euros in one hour, while Qamar, the youngest of the band with his angel face, confessed that he has been addicted to gambling since he was 14 years old.
Qamar Hussain said they used a cheat system for the first time during a Grand Prix event. His accomplice and Sajid explained that the idea of combining their chips was given to them by tourists. According to the prosecutor Alexia Brianti, the procedure of the group, which was revealed through a video obtained at the last Formula 1 Grand Prix, was perfectly oiled. The two older men undertook to recover the chips, while the third member reused them to play at the table.
Incarcerated since June
Once identified during the F1 Grand Prix, the three friends decided to return to Monaco in June, and it was then that they were arrested by the police. SBM demanded they pay a fine amounting to €3.66 million, an estimate of the amount they would have earned using their scam for a whole year. However, the court decided not to follow this request, the surveillance cameras, which only retain images of the last ten days, not allowing to incriminate the cheaters over a period dating back that far.
Mr. Thomas Giaccardi, lawyer for the Société des bains de mer, yet claimed that the three men regularly frequented the establishment for a year in order to apply their cheat system. According to him, they are simply crooks who try to portray themselves as sick gambling addicts. In the end, the prosecutor requested a sentence of three years for Qamar and Sajid, and eighteen months for Zahidul.
Already in jail since their arrest in June, the three returned to their building with sea views, the small prison in Monaco with 20 cells located below the Oceanographic Museum. The rumor is that nowadays they spend their time gambling online at netbet.co.uk. But they cannot cheat there.