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South Korean gamblers get jail time for casino card-game scam

By Zach Howard

CONWAY, Massachusetts (Reuters) - A South Korean man and woman were each sentenced to more than a year in prison on Monday for a card-game gambling scheme last year that defrauded a Connecticut casino of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Prosecutors said Young Su Gy, 60, and Wookyung Kim, 34, traveled to the Foxwoods Resort Casino from South Korea to play Macao-style midi-Baccarat, a game in which the house dealer handles the cards.

Several times last fall, Gy used a so-called holdout device in his sleeve with which he could switch cards in and out of a game to his advantage, prosecutors said.

A holdout device can be a slight-of-hand trick or a hidden mechanism to hold and hide a card.

Kim meanwhile acted as a so-called blocker, distracting casino staff from observing Gy's use of the trick, authorities said.

Both of them wagered on the games and made thousands of dollars at a time, prosecutors said.

"Through this scheme, Gy and Kim were able to defraud Foxwoods of several hundred thousand dollars," said David Fein, U.S. Attorney in Connecticut, in a statement.

In U.S. District Court in Hartford, Judge Alvin Thompson sentenced Gy to 18 months in prison and Kim to one year and a day in prison for cheating the Uncasville, Connecticut-based Foxwoods, a casino complex operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

They also got three years supervised release and were ordered to pay restitution of $870,505.

They had faced the possibility of 20 years in prison.

The two were arrested in November, and in February they pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and theft from a gambling hall on Indian land.

They admitted causing losses of between $400,000 and $1 million to Foxwoods.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jerry Norton)