Five Charged With Stealing $1.1 Million From Atlantic City Casinos

Written By David Danzis on October 18, 2021 - Last Updated on November 26, 2021
AC Casino Heist

Five people from New York are being charged with trying to steal more than $1 million from Atlantic City casinos, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General announced via press release on Thursday, Oct. 14.

Two women and three men were indicted for allegedly conspiring to steal $1.12 million from five Atlantic City casinos by presenting fraudulent banks checks in exchange for gaming chips.

The NJOAG said the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau obtained an Atlantic County grand jury indictment on Wednesday, Oct. 13. The NJ State Police Casino Gaming Bureau and the OAG’s specialized crimes bureau led the investigation.
Each of the five defendants is charged with second-degree conspiracy and various counts of second-degree theft by deception and attempted theft by deception.

Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000.
The following individuals were charged:

  • Xiuhuan Zhang, 65, of Flushing, N.Y.
  • Qingtao Zhang, 53, of Flushing, N.Y.
  • Shuai Liu, 30, of College Point, N.Y.
  • Peng Cai, 33, of Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Sen Ge, 29, of Flushing, N.Y.

 ‘Sophisticated financial scheme’ involved multiple Atlantic City casinos

On Sept. 7, 2021, Qingtao Zhang was detained in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on a warrant obtained in this investigation. The other defendants are being sought on arrest warrants, according to the NJOAG.

“The defendants were caught executing a sophisticated financial scheme spanning multiple casinos and over a million dollars in fraudulent checks,” said Acting NJ Attorney General Andrew J. 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.”

Here’s how much was allegedly stolen from each of the five Atlantic City casinos:

  • Caesars Atlantic City: $284,000
  • Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa: 284,000
  • Ocean Casino Resort: $284,000
  • Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City: $134,000
  • Golden Nugget Atlantic City: $134,000

More details about how the crime unfolded

Law enforcement officials say that from Aug. 26 to Aug. 28, 2021, the two women — Xiuhuan Zhang and Qingtao Zhang — allegedly presented false checks at five Atlantic City casinos. The three men — Liu, Cai, and Ge — allegedly assisted them at various times, along with other individuals who remain under investigation.

According to a news release, at each of the five casinos, Xiuhuan Zhang allegedly presented a fraudulent TD Bank check for $150,000. Qingtao Zhang allegedly presented a fraudulent Bank of America cashier’s check for $134,000 to obtain gaming chips.

The two checks presented at each casino were identical to the checks presented at the other casinos.

In two instances, Xiuhuan Zhang did not obtain chips. Hard Rock denied the $150,000 check. Golden Nugget said she could only receive incremental amounts from the check.

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David Danzis

David Danzis is the lead writer for PlayNJ. He is a New Jersey native and honors graduate of Rutgers University. As a newspaper reporter for the New Jersey Herald and Press of Atlantic City, David earned statewide awards for his coverage of politics, government, education, sports, and business. Today, he is PlayNJ’s Atlantic City “insider” and gaming industry expert on casinos, sports betting, and online gambling. David lives in Atlantic County, NJ with his wife and two children.

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