Thursday, December 11, 2014

Slots Plot: Russian Men Indicted for Cheating Casinos in St. Louis, East St. Louis

Posted By on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge The men are charged with travelling to Missouri and Illinois to cheat casinos. - JEFF KUBINA VIA FLICKR

Four Russian men are facing federal charges for plotting to cheat at the slot machines at casinos in St. Louis and across the river.

The four men -- Murat Bliev, Yevgeniy Nazarov, Igor Lavrenov and Ivan Gudalov -- were indicted by a grand jury for conspiring to travel from Russia to at least ten casinos in Missouri, Illinois and California to employ their scam. Bliev, 36; Lavrenov, 28; and Gudalov, 32; live in Moscow, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. Nazarov, 38, is a U.S. citizen living in Miami, Florida.

Here's the Russians' slots plot: The men used electronic devices that could communicate with foreign servers to predict the actions of a particular slot machine game, known as the Aristocrat Mark VI Electronic Gaming Device. By knowing what the slot machine would do in advance, the men earned winnings from the games that far exceeded what would be expected from fair play, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

See also: Just How Does a Dead Body Go Unnoticed for 12 Days in a Casino Parking Garage?

Officials did not disclose how much money the men "won" in the scheme.

The men made multiple trips to target casinos in St. Louis and in East St. Louis, Illinois, as well as in Temecula, California, officials said.

Each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000.

The FBI investigated this case with help from Homeland Security Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Missouri Highway Patrol, the Missouri Gaming Commission, the Illinois State Police and the Illinois Gaming Board.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at

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