DA says contests at NY casino were fixed

July 7, 2009 3:17:13 PM PDT
The promotions manager at the casino at Yonkers Raceway has been indicted on charges she arranged for friends and relatives to win contests. Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore says 44-year-old Donna Cronin is charged with grand larceny and scheming to defraud.

Also charged: Alicia Murray, 31, of the Bronx and Terence Osborne, 24, of Yonkers.

Prosecutors said over an eighteen month period between December 21, 2006 and August 19, 2008, the defendants while working at Empire City Gaming often provided friends, family, and acquaintances with the opportunity to win the promotional contests that consisted of winning money, flat-screen televisions, Apple laptops, hotel stays and tickets to Broadway shows.

On many of these occasions, the defendants requested kickbacks, mostly in the form of cash, prosecutors said.

The rigged promotions allegedly consisted of both virtual drawings, drawings where the winner was allegedly selected by the MGAM computer and paper drawings in which entrants placed entries in a drum and in which the defendants then selected the winners.

The DA says the defendants told would-be winners when to be on certain slot machines with their "player's card" inserted in the machine to win.

DiFiore says the integrity of the slot machines was not compromised.

Cronin, the Promotions Manager of Empire City Gaming, not only arranged for friends and family members to win promotions, but investigators said also had numerous recruiters who also brought people in to Empire City to win promotions.

The winners of these promotions would allegedly share the winnings with the recruiters and then the recruiters would share a large proportion of a prize with Cronin.

Ironically, many of these "winners" of the promotions ultimately lost money after they, as required by law, paid taxes on the full amount of their winnings, prosecutors said.

All were arraigned on the indictment.

Bail was set at $7,500 for Cronin and $2,500 for Osborne and Murray.

Their next court date will be on August 24th, 2009.

Cronin faces a maximum of five to fifteen years in state prison.

Murray and Osborne face a maximum of two and one third to seven years in state prison.


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