Published January 07. 2013 5:00PM Updated January 07. 2013 5:53PM
A group of people stole more than $90,000 from Foxwoods Resort Casino by fraudulently accessing the accounts of customers who had been awarded free slot machine play, according to state police.
The case is detailed in an arrest warrant affidavit for 39-year-old J. Antonio “Tony” Cifizzari of New Britain, who was charged Friday with first-degree larceny. Additional arrests are expected.
According to the affidavit, Foxwoods Security began investigating when a female patron complained in September that $150 worth of bonus slot play had already been redeemed from her Foxwoods Rewards Account. Casino officials learned the account was accessed a few days earlier at a particular slot machine and reviewed surveillance video showing an Asian male at the machine.
The man, later identified as Allen Wu, said he and about seven others had been picking up Rewards Cards off the gaming floor daily. Slot machine players often leave their cards behind inadvertently. Wu said that using the player names, they accessed Internet sites and obtained personal information about the players in an effort to discover their Personal Identification Numbers. He said passwords often were the last four numbers of the patron's birth date, the last four numbers of their Social Security numbers or a simple numerical pattern such as 1234.
The investigation led to Rolando D. Balatbat, 69, of Jackson Heights, N.Y., who said Cifizzari gave him multiple casino Rewards cards with their PIN numbers and the amount of money available. He said Cifizzari told him how to obtain the bonus slot play by putting the card into the slot machine, entering the PIN and downloading the money. He would cash it out for a voucher, which he would bring to Cifizzari during meetings at the McDonald’s in Chinatown. He said Cifizzari would give him half the value of the voucher.
The police eventually spoke with Cifizzari, who said Wu and Kwan Ying Wong Lee of Brooklyn had been running the scam since May 2012.
All of the people involved with the scam have been permanently ejected from the casino, according to the affidavit, and players whose cards have been compromised have been notified that they need to create a new PIN.
Cifizzari, who is being held in lieu of $125,500 at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution, has pleaded not guilty. He is due back in court on Jan. 25.