Published July 17. 2013 4:00AM Updated July 17. 2013 8:05AM
Former Mohegan Sun table games dealer Jeian Ng testified Tuesday in New London Superior Court Tuesday that he was playing poker at the region's other tribal casino in the summer of 2010 when a New York City man approached him and asked if he wanted to make money.
Ng, 41, of Norwich, and former dealer, Bong Gate Louie, 39, of Norwich, both testified for the state at the cheating trial of Hung Lit Leung and Leonard Hu with the hope of being treated leniently when their own criminal cases are disposed. Both men admitted they broke the law, and Ng characterized his behavior as "stupid."
All four men were arrested on cheating, conspiracy and larceny charges after the alleged card marking scheme was discovered in February 2011. The state alleges that Leung and Hu beat the odds at mini-baccarat, gaining as much as a 21.53 percent advantage by having dealers mark the most favorable cards so that they could increase their bets when they knew the cards were in play.
Prosecutor Stephen M. Carney alleges Leung and Hu won hundreds of thousands of dollars by cheating, but has not pinpointed the amount.
Ng, who had worked at Mohegan Sun since 2004, said he always went to Foxwoods Resort Casino on his days off from Mohegan Sun, and that the man he knew only as "Lee" approached him three times about "making money" before he agreed to it.
The next day, Lee came to his house and showed him how to "touch" the 7, 8 and 9 cards while retrieving them during mini-baccarat games.
"He showed me a couple of cards and how actually to touch the card," Ng testified. "He said when I pick up, just touch with a little pressure on it."
Ng said he went to work and started "touching" the cards, as instructed, by applying pressure in the center. He said the cards didn't look any different to him, but he began receiving payments of $500 to $1,000 in cash in his home mailbox, which he said he thinks came from Lee. Ng estimated he received $5,000 to $6,000.
Ng said he never saw Lee at his table but recognized the defendant, Hu, as a regular customer whom the dealers referred to as "Fat Boy." Louie, the other dealer, testified that his co-worker, Ng, recruited him to "press the cards," and that he tried it four or five times but never got paid.
During their cross-examination of the two dealers, defense attorneys Jeremiah Donovan and Conraid Sei fert let the jury know the men were both facing decades in prison if convicted. Both former dealers signed cooperation agreements with the state last Friday in which the state promised to "take into consideration the nature and extent of your cooperation when deciding the specific charges to which you will plead."
Surveillance investigation manager Mark Smith testified Tuesday that he started looking into the case after a routine review of the player rating and tracking system showed a higher than usual loss for the casino from one particular table.
"The table in question lost $179,000 in one day," Smith testified. The table was not in a high-stakes area, he said. He looked to see who had won the money, discovered it was Hu and Leung, and began reviewing video to see if the play was valid and legitimate, Smith testified.
Jurors began viewing the video at the end of the day and are expected to continue when the trial resumes today.