Accused cheater said he went to casino to raise bond money

Bruce Koloshi, with attorney John Maxwell at right, appears before judge Kevin McMahon in Norwich Superior Court Monday. Koloshi was arrested Sunday and accused of marking cards to cheat on games at Mohegan Sun Casino.
Bruce Koloshi, with attorney John Maxwell at right, appears before judge Kevin McMahon in Norwich Superior Court Monday. Koloshi was arrested Sunday and accused of marking cards to cheat on games at Mohegan Sun Casino. Sean D. Elliot/The Day

A 54-year-old New Jersey man accused of cheating with marked cards over the weekend told detectives he came to Mohegan Sun to raise bond money for his anticipated cheating arrest in the state of Louisiana.

Bruce Koloshi of Summit, N.J., also known as Jeffrey William Elliot, was arraigned Monday in Superior Court in Norwich on charges that he was marking cards at a Mississippi Stud poker table with a type of ink visible only with special contact lenses. Koloshi has cheating convictions in Nevada, Iowa and Illinois, according to court records.

Taken into custody at a poker table early Sunday morning after a surveillance operator notified state police that Koloshi appeared to be cheating, Koloshi told a state police detective he was supposed to turn himself in to authorities in Baton Rouge, La., on Wednesday to face charges that he was using invisible ink to mark cards at L'Auberge Casino, according to police report.

"Koloshi stated he was here at the casino in an attempt to raise bond for his Louisiana arrest warrant," according to the report.

Judge Kevin P. McMahon noted at the arraignment that Connecticut might want its "pound of flesh" from Koloshi before releasing him to Louisiana authorities. McMahon set Koloshi's bond at $300,000 and continued the case to Sept. 27. Koloshi is charged with cheating, conspiracy to commit larceny, criminal impersonation and being a fugitive from justice.

According to the report by Detective Patrick Collins of the state police Casino Licensing & Operations Unit, Mohegan Sun surveillance operator Sharon Cunningham contacted detectives at 1:55 a.m. on Sunday after noticing a player at a Mississippi Stud table looked like the man depicted as a "known card cheat" on a security bulletin from the Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement. Cunningham told the detectives that when she reviewed video footage of Koloshi's play, she could see that he was "clearly marking the cards." The ink he was using could only be seen when the video was viewed in black and white, according to the report.

Cheaters mark cards so that they can gain an advantage by placing higher bets when they know which card will be played.

Koloshi became nervous when he was taken into custody and began fidgeting with his fingers, according to the report. The police put his fingers in zip ties to prevent him from further rubbing them together. They removed from his jacket pocket a small piece of fabric with ink on it attached to a small piece of a dollar bill. The police also seized from Koloshi $930 in Mohegan Sun chips and $2,943 in cash.

Noting that Koloshi was wearing both eyeglasses and contact lenses, Detective Collins said Koloshi eventually admitted the contacts "were designed to see things that you normally wouldn't be able to see," according to the report. The detective seized the contact lenses as evidence.

"The patron also admitted to me during questioning that he was in fact marking the cards and has done this at several casinos," according to the report.

Koloshi initially provided the detective with a driver's license indicating he was Jeffrey Elliott of Cliffside Park, N.J., but the detective was able to determine his true identity after running his fingerprints through the Automated Fingerprint Identification System database.

Koloshi's attorney, John D. Maxwell, said at the arraignment that Koloshi is the married father of four grown children who has worked as a stockbroker, real estate agent and most recently as a home improvement contractor. His wife was present in court.

k.florin@theday.com

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