Former Casino Security Worker Testifies At Skimming Trial
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The former head of security for a company that owned casinos testified he helped a former gaming executive and casino owner steal gambling receipts from Nevada casinos.
Harry McBride on Thursday testified in U.S. District Court that he was a trusted member of a ″crew″ of casino workers assembled by Carl Thomas. The government contends Thomas provided the know-how behind alleged organized crime skimming from Las Vegas casinos.
Eight reputed organized crime figures on trial in federal court are accused of maintaining illegal hidden control of Argent Corp. and skimming $2 million from its casinos. Argent owned the Stardust and Fremont casinos.
McBride said he became involved with Thomas in 1969 while working at Circus Circus Casino. McBride said he followed Thomas to the Tropicana in 1975, to Argent Corp. in 1976 and to the Bingo Palace, which Thomas owned, in 1977.
McBride said that when FBI agents in 1979 seized documents, money and other evidence from the homes of reputed organized crime figures in Kansas City, Thomas told him to destroy documents and other items in the offices of Thomas’ Slots-of-Fun casino in Las Vegas.
McBride said he destroyed a typewriter and shredded documents, but put Thomas’ personal address book into his pocket. A few days later, he put it in his bedroom closet and forgot about it, he said.
In 1983, under FBI scrutiny and faced with possible indictment, McBride testified, he agreed to cooperate with the government, received immunity from prosecution and turned over the address book.
The book contains names and phone numbers of several of the 15 people indicted in the Argent case. It has been introduced into evidence.
In 1983 Thomas and eight reputed organized crime figures from Kansas City and Chicago were convicted of skimming from the Tropicana. Thomas’ role in that scheme allegedly was as an adviser. He is serving a 15-year prison sentence for that conviction.
Thomas, who was in charge of the Stardust, Fremont, Hacienda and Marina casinos for about six months in 1976, also was charged in the Argent case. The charges were dropped and he testified under a grant of immunity earlier this week.
Earlier Thursday, the jury heard a taped conversation in which reputed members of the Kansas City mob talked of skimming $1.5 million a year from the Stardust.
The tape made secretly by government investigators recorded a Nov. 26, 1978, meeting in a home in which Thomas and Joseph Agosto briefed the late Nick Civella, allegedly the leader of organized crime in Kansas City, on Las Vegas skimming operations.