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Cheating scheme involving baccarat at Encore Boston Harbor leads to charges; two other men indicted in separate stabbing case at casino

MassLive.com logo MassLive.com 3/8/2021 Scott J. Croteau, masslive.com
a tree in front of a building: Encore Boston Harbor, as seen from Somerville © Steph Solis | ssolis@masslive.com/masslive.com/TNS Encore Boston Harbor, as seen from Somerville

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office said five people were indicted in two separate incidents that occurred at Encore Boston Harbor including a cheating scheme involving baccarat and a stabbing at the casino.

The indictments were announced Friday.

The cheating scheme involved an Encore casino dealer, a former casino dealer from Maryland, and a third individual from Philadelphia who were able to steal roughly $23,500 over two nights, authorities said.

The second incident, a stabbing at the Everett casino in August, resulted in indictments against a Framingham man and a Natick man.

Authorities said Jianming Li, 53, of Delaware, and Jun Zhang, 41, of New York, were indicted on charges of cheating under the Gaming Act (two counts each), conspiracy (two counts each), and larceny by a single scheme (one count each). Li was also charged with making false statements to the Gaming Commission.

De Lin, 46, of Philadelphia, was indicted on charges of cheating under the Gaming Act and conspiracy.

Authorities allege that Li, an Encore Boston Harbor casino dealer, colluded with Zhang, a former Maryland casino dealer, and Lin in a cheating scheme in the game of baccarat that netted them a total of $23,500 over two nights.

“It is alleged that while he was dealing the cards, Li exposed a series of playing cards, memorized them, marked them with a ‘bookmark’ card, then used his cell phone to communicate the cards and their order to Zhang, when both excused themselves to use separate bathrooms,” Attorney General Maura Healey’s office said.

In the unrelated stabbing that occurred in August, the grand jury handed up indictments against David Guante, 30, of Natick, and James Johnson, 30, of Framingham.

Guante is facing a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon while Johnson faces a charge of assault and battery.

“According to an investigation by the Massachusetts State Police Gaming Enforcement Unit at Encore Boston Harbor, Guante and Johnson became involved in a dispute with another casino patron by the casino cashier,” authorities said. “This dispute resulted in Johnson striking the alleged victim in the face. Guante and the victim, then engaged in a fight, during which Guante allegedly stabbed the victim once in his abdomen.”

All of the defendants will be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court at a later date.

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