Gambling cheats con business - Wednesday 1st of October 2008

A GANG of professional gambling cheats travelled hundreds of miles across the country to con casinos out of money.

Robert Evans, 36, of Broadlead Road, Burnage, Manchester, was one of three men well known to security staff as some of the most skilled card sharks in the business.

The gang were banned from gambling venues across the country - but then used bogus IDs to sneak in.

Gang leader Anthony Lopez, 42, of William Road, Wimbledon, wrote a detailed manual on how to cheat the system including instructions on how to distract croupiers, mark cards, signal to other players and train accomplices.

Southwark Crown Court heart that Lopez ran the gang like a business.

Evans - and Danny Ngo, 33, of Birchfield Road, Perry Bar, Birmingham - were schooled in Lopezs methods in a cheats masterclass.

They followed him around venues in London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Wolverhampton, Bristol and Edinburgh.

On his arrest Lopez was found using 45 different aliases.

Offences

Ngo, described as Lopezs subordinate, first came to the attention of the police when he was spotted trailing his boss around various venues. He too had been thrown out of different gambling spots with a variety of different names.

Evans, was convicted of similar offences in 1997 at Exeter Crown Court in relation to Torquay Casino.

Lopez admitted three counts of fraud, six counts of possession of false ID with intent, three counts of possession of false ID and two counts of possessing of a class A drug.

Ngo admitted four counts of fraud and two counts of possession of false ID with intent.

Evans admitted two counts of possession of false ID with intent and one count of possession of false ID.

All three said they were driven to using fake ID because they were gambling addicts but Nicholas Mathers, prosecuting, rejected that claim and told the court Lopez was running a business, a phrase he used time and time again in his documents.

Judge Michael Gledhill QC adjourned sentencing until Friday while reports are prepared.

Evans and Ngo were granted bail but Lopez was remanded in custody.

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