Las Vegas NV Jan 5 2011 The plight of a man accused of swindling a Pennsylvania casino out of $430,000 got a whole lot worse after he now faces further slot theft charges of up to $1.4 million in Las Vegas.
Swissvale man Andre Michael Nestor, 39, is now alleged to be the mastermind of a worldwide slot machine swindle, which he executed along with accomplice Kerry Laverde, 51. Apparently the men targeted a particular type of slot machine and as Washington County District Attorney Steven Toprani explains:
“From Las Vegas to Monaco, every casino that has these types of machines could be affected.”
The con involved Mr. Nestor passing himself off as a “high roller” who would then enter the casino along with partner in crime and former Swissvale police officer Kerry Laverde, who would flash his police badge and claim to be Nestor’s bodyguard.
Armed with the knowledge of an internal glitch, Nestor would head to the high-bet slot machines and use his extra sway as a “high roller” to get a member of staff to alter “soft” options on the slots, such as volume and screen brightness, and most importantly to unlock the double-up feature.
The men were then able to enter special keystrokes into the machine which would subsequently display bogus jackpots which the men would take it in turns to cash in.
Between June 2009 and August 2009, Nestor and Laverde visited the Meadows Racetrack & Casino in Pennsylvania 14 times during which time they cashed $429,985 of jackpots before a state gaming control board investigated the unusually high payoffs.
Despite Nestor claiming to be unemployed and receiving Social Security disability income for 15 years, a search of the men’s homes revealed deposit boxes, bank accounts and cash in excess of $430,000.
Laverde has since agreed to a plea bargain and will serve three years of probation, while a third man, Patrick Loushil, 42, has also pleaded guilty and is expected to testify against Nestor.
In the meantime, with the additional accusations now spreading to include Las Vegas, Nestor is facing escalating charges, with neither of the other men involved in the case.
In his defence, Nestor is claiming that all he did was push buttons. He then went on to explain:
“I had an advantage over the casino. It’s just like card counting. Card counting, as everybody knows, is not illegal, and that gives people an advantage over the casino. My advantage is that you can win at will. It’s not my fault that their programming allowed a player to win at will.”