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Robert Pellegrini, former vice president of player development for the Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs Casino in Pennsylvania, faces new felony charges this week. Pellegrini, 53, is currently serving a 32-month sentence for a previous federal money charge from his time working at the casino.
The new charges relate to an event from April 2014, when Pellegrini allegedly rigged an Easter drawing. The event was held to benefit the Fairview Township, and Pellegrini was responsible for the $10,000 prize payout in some fashion.
Pellegrini is accused of making a deal with prize winner Mark Heltzel to rig the drawing in his favor in exchange for $2,000 of the prize money. According to Pellegrini, he was not party to crafting the scam and was not involved from the beginning but was included by Heltzel, who claims Pellegrini would have hard feelings if he found about the scheme later and was not offered a piece of the prize.
Mark Heltzel was also involved in the 2014 scheme to rob winnings from the casino using falsified casino cards with free slot play. With the help of former Mohegan Sun Pocono beverage server Rochelle Poszeluznuy, the two men scammed the casino of nearly $419,000 in slot machine payouts.
Pellegrini initially faced up to 20 years in federal prison, but his sentence was reduced to just 32 months as part of his plea bargain. Pennsylvania gaming regulators also slapped the casino with a $550,000 fine for failure to follow approved internal controls regarding free slot play as a result of the scandal.