Wednesday, July 29, 2009


‘Mr. Casino’ sentenced to 10 years
Norwich Bulletin
Posted Jul 24, 2009 @ 11:31 PM

New London, Conn. — Just before he was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison with three years’ probation, Richard “Mr. Casino” Taylor argued he was so good at gambling that people wrongly assumed he was cheating at the region’s casinos.

“I won and I lost,” Taylor said, standing in his prison garb after spending about 45 minutes mostly leaning back in his chair, turned away from the judge, smiling, rolling his eyes or muttering to himself. “I am the best dice player in the world, period. And I didn’t cheat... If you bet with the odds the casinos give you, you’re going to win.”

A six-member jury in May found Taylor, 43, of Memphis, Tenn., guilty of being the ringleader of a craps scam with about a dozen dealers in the region, costing Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun $70,000 in 2007. The charges partly included first-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny and cheating.

Judge Stuart M. Schimelman at New London Superior Court said he wanted the sentencing to send a message of deterrence to anyone thinking of taking part in illegal gambling in Connecticut.

Schimelman said he received the most letters for any case he has presided over from Taylor’s supporters. He said he read every one of them and, in essence, they said Taylor was a good family man who suffered from a gambling addiction.

“Your neighbors and friends call it an addiction,” Schimelman said. “But I call it arrogance.”

Prosecutor Stephen M. Carney described Taylor as “incorrigible,” as shown by his difficulty to sit still in court. But, Carney said, Taylor wasn’t being sentenced simply for an addictive personality.

“It’s the behavior of cheating and stealing and breaking the law of Connecticut that has caused such substantial damage,” he said.

Carney said the dealers who were involved in the conspiracy could not be considered victims, but their lives were ruined after crossing paths with Taylor. They lost their jobs and suffered various consequences to their relationships with their families.

Foxwoods executives who attended the sentencing declined the judge’s invitation to comment.

Schimelman said Taylor continued to blame everyone else — the dealers and then the casinos for preying on the elderly and minorities — and tried to beat the legal system like he did the gambling system with manipulative words and behavior in court and self-written appeals.

At one point before the sentencing, when Schimelman said the jury had no question Taylor was guilty, Taylor, with attorney Ralph Bergman at his side, said, “Objection.” Schimelman quickly denied Taylor the opportunity to speak.

Taylor, a self-proclaimed professional gambler who said he gambled at casinos worldwide, claimed at trial that he was a high roller, making $3,000 to $5,000 wagers and tossing hundreds of dollars in tips to dealers.

He said those tips attracted the attention of the real masterminds behind the craps scam and that those dealers lied about Taylor being involved in the cheating.

Several Foxwoods dealers testified to allowing late bets at the craps table for Taylor or others who prosecutors said were Taylor’s associates. The fast-moving game of craps relies on dealers to take bets before the dice are thrown. Dealers said they used code words “hot chocolate” or “strawberry daiquiri” to identify cheating players. They later were paid a cut of their winnings.

Taylor plans to appeal the sentence, and Schimelman set a $350,000 appeals bond. Taylor was sentenced to 13 years in prison, suspended after 10 years, and a probation of three years that includes a requirement that he undergo problem gambling counseling and bans him from casinos and Internet gambling.

Criminal cases are pending against 11 former Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun employees who were arrested after a months-long investigation by the state police.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: Anytime, you have gambling, someone will try and find a way to cheat, it is the casino's job to catch them. The Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods should prosecute their employees if they were involved. what do you think?

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