October 16, 2021
Five New Yorkers are facing theft charges for allegedly scheming to steal more than $1.1 million from multiple casinos in Atlantic City, where prosecutors say they attempted to pass false blank checks in order to obtain an equivalent amount in gaming chips.
The investigation began after a serious of suspicious transactions between Aug. 26-28, when the defendants allegedly conspired to carry out the scheme at five casinos.
Two women, identified as 65-year-old Xiuhuan Zhang and 53-year-old Qingtao Zhang, allegedly presented fraudulent TD Bank Official Check and America Cashier's Checks at Caesars, the Borgata, Ocean Casino Resort, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino.
The women received assistance from three male suspects, identified by investigators as 30-year-old Shuai Liu, 33-year-old Peng Cai and 29-year-old Sen Ge.
At each of the five casinos Xiuhuan, Zhang is accused of presenting a false TD Bank Official Check for $150,000. Qingtao Zhang allegedly presented America Cashier's Checks in the amount of $134,000. The checks were identical at all casinos and totaled $1,120,000, investigators said,
At the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, staff rejected a $150,000 and refused to give out chips. The Golden Nugget also was leery of one of the checks it received, agreeing only to provide incremental amounts of equivalent value in gaming chips.
Qingtao Zhang was arrested Sept. 7 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on an arrest warrant obtained during the investigation. The other five defendants remain at large and are being sought on arrest warrants.
“The defendants were caught executing a sophisticated financial scheme spanning multiple casinos and over a million dollars in fraudulent checks,” said Acting New Jersey Attorney General Andrew 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.”
All five defendants face charges of second-degree conspiracy, second-degree theft by deception and second-degree attempted theft by deception, which carry a potential sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000.