Legendary Casino Scams

Many of the most popular hollywood films about casino robberies and gimmicks are based on real events. The directors and producers who shot such films as “Ocean’s 11” were inspired by the stories of the most legendary casino robbers.

Unlike movies, in reality, many fraudsters can not leave so easily and do not have such a high technical level of training, like heroes of films. However, there are several people who have managed to stand out for their sophistication in an attempt to find an answer to the question of how to rob a casino and still go unpunished.

The story of Bill Brennan. Is the initiator or forced?

Bill Brennan was a cashier at the “Stardust Hotel” and Casino in Las Vegas in 1992. Then one of the greatest casino robberies of all times happened.

For many years, Brennan was an employee of the casino, that is why no one noticed when he once left the casino with a bag, in which there were $ 500,000 in cash and in the form of chips.

Brennan has not been still detained. He is on the FBI’s most-wanted list of people and he was shown on “America’s Most Wanted” TV show.

This is one of the greatest, simple and elegant robberies of all times. However, it still remains unknown whether he initiated the robbery just by himself or whether he had accomplices. Many people agree that he was inclined to a crime and was killed later.

Jose Vigoa – inspiration for “Ocean’s 11”

Jose Vigoa, Luis Suarez and Oscar Sanchez carried out more than $ 160,000 from the “Bellagio” hotel-casino in 2000.


Image source: Kuoni

Two them climbed into the cashier and stole about $ 160,000 in cash and casino chips, while a third stood “on the lookout“. At the same time there were no injuries.

Perhaps it would be a committed crime if it were not for one “but”: Vigoa managed to get under the lens of a video camera without a mask, despite the fact that at that time he was already a famous bank robber. Moreover, several people died from his hands in the course of criminal activity.

As a result, three men were sentenced to prison. Vigoa himself got from 306 to 760 years of imprisonment (including murders). In addition, the criminals were obliged to pay more than $ 150,000.

Heather Tallchief and Roberto Solis

Heather Tallchief was a “Loomis Armor Inc.” company car driver. This car transported money to the “Circus Circus” casino in Las Vegas. One day, Tallchief decided to appropriate the entire amount of money to herself. There was $ 2.5 million in the car, which disappeared just like herself.


Image source: CircusCircus

Finally, after 12 years spent on the run, she has returned and is currently serving a sentence. According to Heather’s words, the robbery was planned by her boyfriend Roberto Solis. She explained that he took all the money for himself and threw the Tallchief soon after escape to the Netherlands. He has not still been caught.

Tallfeef is one of the few women, which hit the list of legendary casino robber.

Tommy Carmichael – is a “silent” hacker of slot machines

Tommy Carmichael is a legendary conman who did not only robbed a slot machine, but did it for forty years. He was deceiving the largest gambling establishments of Las Vegas and other cities all this time. It is reported that during this time he got millions of dollars.


Image source: QuoraMester Bean

He was interested in electronics, inventions and innovative technologies since his childhood. He often had problems with the law in adulthood. His life changed dramatically at the moment when his old school friend, Ray Ming, visited him. He showed Tommy a simple device for hacking slot machines. Carmichael seriously interested in this invention. He studied the structure and features of the slot machine and then he realized that he wanted to test the device “in action”. Having mastered, he was not afraid to break into expensive slot machines, rapidly growing richer. Carmichael did not stop there. He perfected his hacking techniques.

However, , he was detained by the police in 1985, which, as it turned out, had been watching him for a long time. His tool became the main evidence during the trial.

However, the prison term did not frighten and did not stop the burglars. After the freed, they began to develop new methods of hacking, since the classical methods could not operate anymore, because all the casinos, even the smallest, introduced new systems which were not so easy to hack. Their invention was the so-called “light stick”. It is noteworthy that this idea came to a swindler’s mind after an exhibition of “IGT” products. The “light stick” blinded the optical sensor, which after the slot gave out coins.

Louis Colavecchio – “the engine of progress” in the field of slot machines

In the 1990s of the 20th century, extra gaming chips appeared in the casinos of Connecticut and New Jersey in an incredible way. Since it seemed impossible, no one could determine their origin. The administration of casinos appealed to the police, which came out on Louis Colavecchio. They found a unique machine at his home which can produce casino chips. It was almost impossible to determine a fake.


Image source: Pinterest

During the investigation, it turned out that Colavecchio had been robbing Atlantic City slot machines for many years using fake chips.

Louis’s biography is even more exciting. Colavecchio’s parents were intelligent people and they owned several tool shops. After graduating from college, Louis founded his own business – a jewelry store. He began to receive profits from it only 10 years later. However, this was enough for him to lead a luxurious life.

The trouble fell on the head of Louis and his family shortly after the business began to bring good profits. The criminals attacked the store, beat Louis and took away all the jewelry.

Penny for the thoughts of counterfeiter Louis ‘The Coin’ is money well spent

He opened a new jewelry store later. However, unlike other jewelers located nearby, he led a rather closed business. Even then, Colavecchio was engaged in counterfeiting chips using his equipment for processing precious stones.

Subsequently, casinos of New Jersey and Connecticut found fraud. In exchange for information on how he managed to deceive casinos, the police offered Louis a lower prison term – only 7 years.

He was released in 2006 and after a few months he was again detained for fraud in a casino. As it turned out, the robbery of his first store Colavecchio committed in collusion with accomplices. Later, after his release, he was detained for selling drugs. It turned out that he had been associated with a mafia all these years.

At the same time, Luis’s counterfeit chips gave the developers of slot machines new ideas – they began to use additional encryption using special software, and later switched to automatic machines without chips, electronic or with vouchers.