Renowned casino security consultant Steve Forte has been indicted in New Jersey in a high-tech poker scam nearly 16 months after his arrest.
Forte, who lives in Las Vegas, was indicted along with three other men for second-degree attempted theft by deception. The charge, a felony, carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in New Jersey state prison and a $150,000 fine.
No date has been set for the defendants to appear for an arraignment hearing.
The 52-year-old Forte was arrested on June 7, 2007, by New Jersey State Police in a private hotel room at the Borgata in Atlantic City with three other men: Joseph Ingargiola, 51, and Stephen Phillips, 53, both from Las Vegas, and James Harrison, 42, of Duluth, Minn.
Forte is a highly regarded independent consultant that has authored a pair of books, “Casino Game Protection” and “Poker Protection: Cheating … and the World of Poker.”
Forte’s contact information and the names of casinos he has worked with through his company, International Gaming Specialists, has been removed from his Web site. However, the Web site in August said he worked with casinos around the world including MGM Mirage, Harrah’s Entertainment, Station Casinos and the Golden Nugget.
The grand jury indictment, handed down on Thursday, alleges that the four men plotted to cheat a man out of more than $75,000 during high-stakes games of Chinese poker, backgammon and chess.
Forte and his co-defendants allegedly rigged the hotel room and a nearby room with hidden surveillance cameras, audio equipment computers and other high-tech devices, according to the indictment.
The defendants allegedly planned to use marked playing cards for Chinese poker so they could identify the victim’s cards and transmit instructions to the opposing player, who would be wearing a concealed earpiece.
They also allegedly intended to use the equipment to monitor the games of backgammon and chess, so that computer programs could be used to calculate the countermoves that offered the best odds of winning, a statement from the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General said.
Forte and his co-defendants, who have all been free on bail, could not be reached for comment.
Contact reporter Arnold M. Knightly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3893.