MGM Springfield’s Slot Machine Technician Steals $22,000
August 2nd, 2019 3.00pm
A former MGM Springfield employee has decided not to place his trust in the RNG slot algorithms – instead, he took the matters in his own hands, selflessly unloading around $22,000 from his employer’s care…
Timing Is Everything
Salvador Montalvo Jr found the new calling at the age of 54, after realizing that there has to be more to life than servicing slot cabinets. The investigation conducted by the State Police Gaming Enforcement Unit in Massachusetts has unraveled a series of larcenies committed by this man, who used his new-found skills to forge his superior’s signature on the company documents.
It was not long before the false entries into the corporate ledger led the police straight to Montalvo, who, by that time, managed to pinch over $20,000. According to the timeline of the offences, Montalvo was among the first staff members employed at the Massachusetts resort opened in 2018.
Between August of 2018 and January of 2019, Montalvo withdrew around $23,000 from the casino to perform routine slot machines tests. By the time the money was returned to the casino account, more than 90% mysteriously disappeared, re-appearing on Montalvo’s personal bank account. It seems that Montalvo believed a meagre sum of $20,000 would slip under the radar, but his timing was quite unfortunate. Apparently, the incident took place in the midst of MGM’s struggles to meet the revenue targets – a 10.5% decline in profit was recorded in May 2019, making June of 2019 the month with the lowest proceeds. At this pace, it appears unlikely that the operator will reach the goal of $400M GGR (Gross Gaming Revenue) in the first year.
The Presumption of Innocence
If found guilty, Montalvo will be facing up to 5 years in prison or pay up to $25,000 fine and spend 2 years in jail. Still, compared to the incidents across several casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, Montalvo’s misgivings seem rather negligible. A 46-year-old Sang Lee swindled multiple casinos between 2016 and 2017 without even having to use any force. His strategy was simple and effective – to support his gambling habits, Lee would take advantage of the casino markers, gradually piling up a debt of $625,000!
Las Vegas media reported that Lee secured approximately 8 markers, including the ones from The Venetian, The Palazzo, and Wynn Las Vegas. Each of these venues received multiple “rubber” checks, which bounced the moment the staff tried to collect the debt – some $300,000 to The Venetian, $25,000 to The Palazzo, and another $300,000 to Wynn.
The members of the law enforcement located Lee this week, and he is currently waiting on his hearing (scheduled for October 7). However, judging by the similar incidents that took place in the past, Lee should not be overly concerned. So far, the penalties for those who have committed marker frauds have been notoriously mild and the perpetrators would often get no more than a slap on the wrist.
In 2011, Andrew Pham gambled away $1M using the same principle as Lee. Pham pleaded guilty and was granted probation, but the debt was never repaid despite the order from the judge.
What Are Casino Markers?
Casino markers are a form of a credit that the casino credit department approves after performing the necessary evaluations of the applicant’s finances. This gives the patrons access to a substantial sum of money which they can redeem as either chips or cash for the slot machines. If paid within the prescribed period, markers (printed and signed at the pit) are interest-free.
Should the patron fail to pay the markers on time, the casino will collect the money from the bank or send a certified letter to the client, requesting the funds.
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