Man jailed over conspiracy with croupiers

A Melbourne man who enticed Crown Casino croupiers into a conspiracy to cheat the gambling mecca was jailed today for at least six months.

Alexus Benetton, 42, approached three croupiers at the Melbourne casino between June and August 2003, Judge Joe Gullaci said today.

He convinced the Crown employees to pay out losing bets and then paid them commissions.

Benetton pleaded guilty in the Victorian County Court to three counts of conspiracy, one of corruptly giving false commissions, and two counts of theft, relating to stealing AUD 700 worth of gambling chips and AUD 100 cash.

Judge Gullaci said he was unable to determine the total amount of money Benetton gained from his crimes.

He rejected Benetton’s defence that he was a pawn who was manipulated by higher figures in the conspiracy hierarchy.

„You were a significant player who was not a person who merely did the bidding of others for little or no return,“ Judge Gullaci said.

Benetton was a pathological gambler and had slept overnight at the casino, Judge Gullaci said.

„You saw the casino as a source of companionship as you had few friends,“ he said.

Judge Gullaci jailed Benetton for 19 months but suspended 13 months of the sentence for two years.