A former blackjack dealer and two players recently appeared in Buffalo, N.Y., court for alleged fraud at a gaming table. The incident took place last month at Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.
Entrance to Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, pictured above. A trio was arrested recently for an alleged fraud scheme at the venue. (Image: Twitter)
Last week, Emily M. Torres, 20, of Lackawanna, N.Y., who worked as dealer at the tribal casino, and Mark M. Watson, Jr., 28, of Buffalo, both appeared before a judge. The two are charged with first-degree gaming fraud, WGRZ, a local TV station reported.
Late last month, Rahat Hossain, 34, also of Buffalo, appeared in court, too. He was also charged with first-degree gaming fraud.
All three are scheduled to reappear in court next month. They were ordered to stay away from the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and other Seneca gaming venues. If found guilty of the gaming fraud count, they could face a year in jail.
The incident dates back to Aug. 14 and 15 during a two-and-a-half-hour playing spree, when Torres allegedly showed Hossain and Watson face cards before a final play, WGRZ said. Before leaving the table, Hossain and Watson won thousands of dollars, authorities said.
The incident was recorded on surveillance cameras, authorities said. Both players made restitution of the ill-gotten money. Watson repaid $5,287.50 and Hossain repaid $2,210.
Blackjack is one of 30 games played at the casino.
Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino is located in Buffalo’s inner harbor area. The casino is operated by Seneca Gaming Corporation (SGC). SGC is a tribally-chartered corporation of the Seneca Nation of Indians.
Statewide, it is unusual in New York to see arrests for gaming fraud, the Buffalo News, a local newspaper, reported. Between January 2017 and this past June, only four suspects were arrested for the charge, the state Division of Criminal Justice Services told the newspaper.
Food Drive at Casino
In May, the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino responded to a mass shooting at a popular local supermarket. The casino held a food drive for those affected by the May 14 shooting spree on the city’s East Side.
Those who dropped off donations of five or more non-perishables received a $10 voucher for playing the venue’s slot machines. Those who contributed $10 or more to the effort also got the voucher.
The Jefferson Avenue Tops Friendly Market store was closed from the time of the shooting until July. That left the immediate community with few options for food shopping.
Ten black individuals were killed and three other people were injured in the shooting. An 18-year-old suspect was arrested. When the market was closed, concern arose over food availability in the East Side.
In December, at another Seneca gaming property, the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls, N.Y., there was an unapproved filming of a music video atop the parking garage. Six people were shooting a music video and one of the individuals was holding a gun.
Once police arrived, a suspect allegedly tossed the firearm off the roof of the garage, nearly striking the security guards standing below. The firearm was confiscated by police.
Markiez A. Davis, 22, allegedly tossed the gun. He was arrested on three charges. They include second- and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment. He has plead not guilty to the charges, the Buffalo News reported.
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