Leader of conspiracy to defraud L’Auberge Casino pleads guilty

The following is a Press Release from the United States Attorney's Office Western District of Louisiana:

United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that the leader of a group who conspired to defraud the L'Auberge du Luc Casino in Lake Charles, La., pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Three other co-defendants have previously pled guilty to the same charges.

Charbel Tannous, 34, of Katy, TX, Constandi Lubbat, 55, of Houston, TX, Derrick Weldon, 43, of Lake Charles, La., and Stephen Mouton, 45, of Iowa, La., were all charged in an indictment filed June 22, 2011, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. In addition, Tannous was charged with seven separate counts of wire fraud. Tannous was the creator of the scheme to defraud the casino. The scheme involved "rigging" roulette games and bribing two dealers. Weldon and Mouton, who both permitted Tannous and Lubbat to place late bets at the roulette wheel, allowed the men to place chips on the wheel after the ball had fallen on the winning number. This procedure, known as "past posting," allowed Tannous and Lubbat to place chips on the number knowing it was already a winner. The wire fraud counts pertain to the use of telephones to set up the deals which arranged for Tannous and Lubbat to be at the casino and arranged for Weldon or Mouton to be the dealers.

At sentencing, all of the defendants face a term of imprisonment of five (5) years, a fine of up to $250,000.00, and a term of supervised release of up to three (3) years. Tannous is scheduled to be sentenced on August 30, 2012; Lubbat and Weldon are scheduled to be sentenced on June 28, 2012; and Mouton is scheduled to be sentenced on July 12, 2012.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Lake Charles Resident Agency, and the Louisiana State Police, Gaming Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James T. McManus.