Former casino exec arraigned over Easter scam

Back in 2014, the Mohegan Sun Pocono held a successful sweepstakes in conjunction with Easter.  Plastic eggs containing cash prizes and slot machine credits were available, with one offering a top prize of $10,000.  Mark Heltzel was the lucky winner, but it turned out that the egg was rotten.  A former casino executive and an accomplice were charged with rigging the contest to ensure that Heltzel won.

52-year-old Robert Joseph Pellegrini was the VP of player development for the casino.  He was arraigned on Wednesday on charges of criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property.  Pellegrini has been locked up at the Federal Correctional Institution at Schuylkill in Minersville serving a 32-month sentence for money laundering in an unrelated Mohegan Sun case. 

Pellegrini is accused of conspiring with two other former casino employee, Kenneth Rowlands and Colin Ray Boecker, to rig the game.  They manipulated the outcome to ensure that Heltzel won and Heltzel allegedly gave a portion of the winnings to the trio. 

While Heltzel wasn’t charged in the scam, he was arrested on another one.  Heltzel supposedly worked with Pellegrini and a casino waitress, Rochelle Poszeluznyj, in a theft ring that stole casino patron identification numbers.  The numbers were used to create fake duplicate cards that provided as much as $478,000 in free casino credits.  He was sentenced in August of last year to 18 months in prison, and Poszeluznyj received six months of house arrest followed by two years in prison.

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