By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
Like something out of a James Bond movie, an Italian man codenamed “Parmesan” coordinated a casino cheating scheme with high-tech contact lenses, secretly marked playing cards, and a few employees willing to look the other way. Oh, and it all took place on the French Riviera, the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France famous for its fancy restaurants, entertainments, and shopping.
The real name of the crook is Stefano Ampollini, a 56-year-old man who describes himself as a “player and cheat of international [fame].” Back in August 2011, he showed up to “Les Princes” casino, wearing infrared contact lenses (they let him see a normally invisible kind of light known as infrared) that he purchased from China for about $2700 in euros.
His fellow partner-in-crime (literally), who goes by the codename “The Israeli,” would sniff or snort his nose to give Ampollini secret signals about which cards to choose. Two more shady guys – both naughty casino employees willing to rob their boss – marked the cards with invisible ink that could only be seen through the contacts. In a single day, these crafty guys won over $94,000 in euros!
The casino, however, grew suspicious. Their lawyer, Marc Concas, said, “Casino security found his behavior rather strange as he won very easily and, above all, because he folded twice when he had an excellent hand, suggesting he knew the [dealer’s] cards.” The betting police soon launched an investigation, listening to telephone conversations that revealed the two casino employees and their card-marking plans.
When “Parmesan” returned 2 months later to win over $28,000 in euros, the police arrested him as he left the casino! He was charged a fine of $135,000 in euros and will be in prison for 2 years. I guess cheater’s never prosper. The trial judge, Marc Joando, was still impressed by the futuristic nature of the crime. He said, “This is the first time this sort of technique has been seen in Europe.”
Featured image courtesy of Z.graber on Wikipedia. Image of dealer courtesy of Quenot on Wikipedia.