|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a Hudson County man has been convicted at trial for illegally placing bets at craps tables at three different Atlantic City casinos after the winning number had already been determined at each of the tables.
Derek Bethea, 57, of Bayonne, was found guilty yesterday (May 13) on two counts of third-degree swindling and cheating at casino gaming and one count of fourth-degree swindling and cheating at casino gaming. The conviction follows a week-long jury trial in front of Superior Court Judge Donna Taylor in Atlantic County. The charges were contained in a Nov. 20, 2013 Atlantic County grand jury indictment.
Judge Taylor scheduled sentencing for June 6. Third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $15,000 while fourth-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison and a criminal fine of up to $10,000.
In convicting Bethea, the jury determined that on Aug. 15, 2013, he placed a $1,100 bet at a craps table at the Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City after the dice had already come out. Bethea subsequently collected the winnings from the bet and left the Borgata Casino, but was detained at Tropicana Casino the next day and charged via summons with the offense. The jury further determined that on Aug. 30, Bethea placed a $505 bet at a craps table at Resorts Hotel& Casino after the winning number had been determined. Resorts Casino refused to pay this bet and Bethea was again detained and charged via summons. Lastly, the jury determined that the very next day, Aug. 31, Bethea placed a $240 bet at a craps table at Revel Casino after the winning number had been determined, and then left the casino after Revel refused to pay the bet. Bethea was detained later on this date at the Atlantic City Hilton casino and arrested for the Revel offense. Bethea has been in Atlantic County jail since Aug. 31, 2013 in lieu of $30,000 bail. His bail was revoked yesterday, following the conviction.
Bethea was convicted in 2001 of similar cheating and swindling offenses and was sentenced to three years in state prison. He was convicted again in September 2005 for committing cheating and swindling offenses that year and subsequently served nearly eight years in state prison, being released on July 19, 2013. These prior cases were prosecuted by the Casino Prosecutions Unit.
Deputy Attorney General Kelly Biringer, Detective Kenneth Crane and members of the New Jersey State Police - Casino Investigations Unit coordinated the investigation. Deputy Attorney General Biringer represented the Division of Criminal Justice at the trial.