Tran Organization

The Tran Organization was a criminal gang of casino cheats in the 2000s. The group targeted at least 28 casinos across the United States and one in Canada. The casinos lost around $7,000,000 to the organization. As of 2011, 47 people were indicted, of which 42 had already pleaded guilty in relation to the conspiracy.[1]


Gambling schemeEdit

The criminal enterprise started around August 2002 in San Diego, California, and included Van Thu Tran, her husband Phuong Quoc "Pai Gao John" Truong,[2] and Tai Khiem Tran.[1] Many other members of the Tran family were also involved in the organization.[3]

The organizers had themselves been card dealers.[2] The organizers bribed card dealers and casino supervisors to do false shuffles to create "slugs" of cards with already-seen sequences.[1] The system worked especially well with mini-baccarat, in which players are allowed to track cards openly. They later expanded to blackjack, in which the betting limits are higher but card counting is forbidden at most casinos; the group hid wireless microphones and earpieces on themselves to communicate with conspirators using computer programs to predict which cards would re-appear.[1][2]

Casinos often didn't realize they were being cheated until after the gang had already left town.[2] Some casinos, suspecting they were being cheated in an unknown way, called on government authorities.[3]

Investigation and arrestsEdit

The FBI opened a case file in 2004.[3] After Phuong Truong started shortchanging the colluding dealers out of their portion of the illegal money, some dealers became informants for the FBI.[2] In June 2006, Mississippi Gaming Commission agents posed as corrupt dealers and secretly videotaped a meeting with Truong, in which he bragged openly about the scheme and its success.[2]

The conspirators were rounded up in 2007.[1] By 2007, Truong and 46 confederates were indicted for racketeering, theft and money laundering. Truong pleaded guilty and received 70 months in prison.[4]

Tai Khiem Tran pleaded guilty to conspiracy and racketeering in 2009, but Van Thu Tran pleaded not guilty to those charges.[5] Van Thu Tran instead pleaded guilty in January 2011, and was ordered to pay $5.7 million in restitution[6] payable to several casinos. On September 28, 2012, Van Thu Tran was sentenced in San Diego to 36 months in prison for her role in the scheme, with three years of supervised release. At that point, 42 defendants had pleaded guilty to charges relating to the cheating conspiracy, admitting overall to targeting a combined total of 29 US and Canada casinos.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Co-Founder of Casino-Cheating Criminal Enterprise Pleads Guilty to Racketeering Conspiracy Targeting Casinos Across the United States" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs. January 14, 2011. Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  2. ^ a b c d e f McNiff, Eamon (May 25, 2012). "Real-Life 'Ocean's 11': How Agents Foiled a $7 Million Casino Scheme". ABC News Internet Ventures. Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  3. ^ a b c "House of Cards: Casino Cheating Ring Dismantled" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2011-02-11. Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  4. ^ "Real-Life 'Ocean's 11': How Agents Foiled a $7 Million Casino Scheme". ABC News. May 25, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  5. ^ John Wilkens (August 30, 2009). "Busted card-cheating ring found success in simplicity". San Diego Tribune.
  6. ^ Steve Green (September 28, 2012). "Woman involved in casino cheating ring sentenced to three years in prison". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  7. ^ "Co-Founder of Casino-Cheating Criminal Enterprise Sentenced to 36 Months in Prison for Targeting Casinos Across the United States". US DOJ. September 28, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2018.

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