The Tran Organization was a group of individuals who devised a simple but effective strategy to defraud casinos across the country out of over $7 million. The family business began in the early 2000s and flourished in the years that followed.
The Tran Organization was confident that they would never be discovered because they were so skilled at their game. This perspective would ultimately be their undoing, as overconfidence leads to errors. Their greatest error in this instance, the mistake that would drag down a whole organization, was avarice.
The organization’s commander became avaricious and began shorting his co-conspirators, who then decided to collaborate with the FBI. This resulted in the monitoring and targeting of everyone involved in the conspiracy, which ultimately led to the successful dismantling of an organization that could have continued for years.
Van Thu Tran and Phuong Quoc Truong were Vietnamese nationals who led the Tran Organization. During their employment at a Native American casino in San Diego, this couple devised a scheme to steal money from casinos.
A teller at the same casino was dismissed in August of 2002 for using a fraudulent shuffle at her table. This was the beginning of the scheme, as it provided the Trans with a wealth of information regarding the various methods of casino deception.
While the dealer was working for them, they conducted research into the optimal methods and angles for the fraudulent shuffle. When this dealer was terminated, it was believed that it was an isolated incident that amounted to little more than a dealer ruse. Nonetheless, this deception would cost the wagering industry dearly over the course of several years.
This new strategy was incredibly successful due to the fact that the Trans’ organization consisted primarily of trusted family and friends.
The only vulnerable link in the group was the fact that they had to enlist the assistance of casino operators to make everything happen. Van Thu Tran recruited her parents, siblings, and other extended family members to become card fraudsters.
When Van and her spouse decided to use the false shuffle to monitor cards while playing Pai Gow, the situation began innocuously enough. This Asian card game was the first one they attempted to play. The Trans’ deception was successful, so they decided to bring in family members to enhance their chances of winning.
The entire scheme relies on the dealer’s deceptive shuffle. A fraudulent shuffle occurs when the dealer protects a portion of the cards and retains them in the order in which they were initially dealt, so that the person keeping track of the cards knows precisely which card will be dealt next.
It is simple to miss a deceptive shuffle unless you know what you’re searching for.
Some vendors are proficient in this sleight of hand technique and it can be almost impossible to establish that’s what is taking place. When their first dealer was dismissed, they decided to take their talents to other casinos and try their hand at different games.