(CLEVELAND) -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason, and members of the Ohio Casino Control Commission announced today the indictments of seven men accused of cheating at the newly opened Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland.
"From the very beginning we warned the would-be cheaters that our gaming agents, working under the Casino Control Commission, were all highly trained to spot casino crooks," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. "These indictments show that if someone comes into one of Ohio's casinos planning to cheat, they should think twice."
The defendants, who are all charged with a fifth degree felony charge of gambling, include:
• Nidal Abuaun, 49, Lakewood
• Nathaniel Emory, 40, Cleveland
• Russell Heidenreich, 46, Cleveland
• Aaron Higdon, 29, Cleveland
• Philip Koch, 54, Lakewood
• Theodore Shepherd, 53, Cleveland
• Louis Wilkerson, 30, Akron
Prosecutor Mason said, "Ohio now has statutes in place to address crimes committed in the new casinos. My office will continue to prosecute these crimes as we would any other crime in our County."
According to investigators, the defendants were each caught cheating on various casino games such as Black Jack, Texas Hold'Em, Roulette and Craps by either past posting, making a bet after the time allowed, capping/stacking a bet, adding chips to a bet after a good outcome is predictable, or removing bets on losing hands/rolls.
"The integrity of casino gaming is critical to the State of Ohio; with these indictments, the Ohio Casino Control Commission is sending a strong message that cheating or stealing from a casino violates Ohio law, said the Ohio Casino Control Commission Director of Enforcement, Karen Huey. "Stealing from a casino is the same as stealing from the State of Ohio and will not be tolerated."
Authorities said the crimes all happened between May 22, 2012 and June 17, 2012.