Alleged Mohegan Sun Casino conspirators indicted by federal grand jury


By Joe Dolinsky - [email protected]



Mark Heltzel, 51, of Dallas, is led out of court after his preliminary arraignment on Jan. 20, 2016.


Travis Kellar | Times Leader file photo

Poszeluznyj


Travis Kellar | Times Leader file photo

Robert Joseph Pelrgrini leaves his arraignment in the custody of Pennsylvania State Police on Jan. 21, 2016.


Clark Van Orden | Times Leader file photo


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    Casino crimes

    Mohegan Sun Pocono has been targeted by insiders multiple times in 2016:

    Slot supervisor James Clayton Benczkowski, 41, of Duryea, was charged with stealing $26,151 from the casino in February.

    Former dealer Dustin Raynor Laird, 30, of Wilkes-Barre, pleaded guilty in January to conspiring with players to rig a tile betting game that cheated the casino out $17,710.

    SCRANTON — A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted a former casino executive and a gambler alleged to have conspired in a scheme that defrauded Mohegan Sun Pocono out of over $400,000.

    Federal prosecutors announced former Mohegan Sun Pocono Vice President of Player Development Robert Pellegrini and casino patron Mark Heltzel were charged in a 21-count indictment with one count each of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and 10 counts each of access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.

    The charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, prosecutors say.

    A third person allegedly involved in the scheme, 38-year-old cocktail waitress Rochelle Poszeluznyj, of Kingston, was not named in Tuesday’s indictment but still faces several dozen charges in county court, including 174 felonies.

    Court records show she waived her right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday. She remains free on $100,000 bail.

    Prosecutors allege Pellegrini, 50, of Fairview Township, and Heltzel, 51, of Dallas, were “well acquainted with each other,” according to the 11-page indictment.

    With Poszeluznyj’s help, prosecutors allege, Pellegrini and Heltzel parlayed stolen players’ club card information into fraudulent credits that netted the two men $422,147 in winnings between May 2014 and April 2015.

    Pellegrini’s job duties, prosecutors say, required him to reward frequent patrons with perks, including adding drinks, meals and free slot play to their players’ club cards, to which he had “unfettered access,” prosecutors say.

    Prosecutors allege Poszeluznyj took patrons’ card information, including their personal identification numbers, and provided it to Heltzel, her boyfriend, and occasionally to Pellegrini himself. Eventually, prosecutors say, the waitress provided the information to both men via text messages or notes written on paper.

    The men allegedly instructed Poszeluznyj to seek out patrons with upper-level club cards, which allowed more free credits to be added, prosecutors say.

    Pellegrini duplicated the cards and loaded them with free credits, then passed them on to Heltzel to gamble with on poker slot machines, which are known to pay out more frequently, prosecutors say. The scheme was allegedly spread across approximately 160 individual players’ club cards.

    Pellegrini and Heltzel split the winnings, prosecutors allege.

    The men are scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment Wednesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph F. Saporito Jr. Both have been free on bail since January.

    Mark Heltzel, 51, of Dallas, is led out of court after his preliminary arraignment on Jan. 20, 2016.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_Heltzel-cmyk-1.jpgMark Heltzel, 51, of Dallas, is led out of court after his preliminary arraignment on Jan. 20, 2016. Travis Kellar | Times Leader file photo

    Poszeluznyj
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_Poszeluznyj_Rochelle-1.jpgPoszeluznyj Travis Kellar | Times Leader file photo

    Robert Joseph Pelrgrini leaves his arraignment in the custody of Pennsylvania State Police on Jan. 21, 2016.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_Pellegrini_Robert-cmyk-1.jpgRobert Joseph Pelrgrini leaves his arraignment in the custody of Pennsylvania State Police on Jan. 21, 2016. Clark Van Orden | Times Leader file photo

    By Joe Dolinsky

    [email protected]

    Casino crimes

    Mohegan Sun Pocono has been targeted by insiders multiple times in 2016:

    Slot supervisor James Clayton Benczkowski, 41, of Duryea, was charged with stealing $26,151 from the casino in February.

    Former dealer Dustin Raynor Laird, 30, of Wilkes-Barre, pleaded guilty in January to conspiring with players to rig a tile betting game that cheated the casino out $17,710.

    Reach Joe Dolinsky at 570-991-6110 or on Twitter @JoeDolinskyTL.

    Reach Joe Dolinsky at 570-991-6110 or on Twitter @JoeDolinskyTL.

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