Search

World’s biggest gambling cheat stopped in tracks

PUBLISHED: 10:00 13 June 2011

Francis Farrugia

Francis Farrugia

Archant

» A Primrose Hill crook, believed to be one of the world’s biggest gambling cheats, has been snared by police after a 20-year swindling spree.

Francis Farrugia, of Carole House, Regent’s Park Road, is said to have netted millions by double dealing on roulette tables around the globe.

The 53-year-old operated as part of three-man crew, which included Italian-born Francesco Baioni, 65, and Frank Camilleri, 61.

Over the course of two lucrative decades the trio became the scourge of the gambling establishment.

With a travel itinerary that would be the envy of many, the well-oiled team hit casinos in Australia, Macau, Las Vegas and in countless European cities.

Using a technique called ‘top hatting’, they would dupe croupiers during roulette games by placing a high value chip on top of a winning number after it is called.

Dave Livermore, chairman of the International Association of Casino Security, said: “They were quite slick, but they were going a long time. They’ve been banned for 20 years.

“They targeted casinos all over the world. During the court case the judge asked his (Faruggia’s) barrister what money he used to play the casinos and he couldn’t answer because all of their money is from casinos. They didn’t have any legitimate funds.”

The cheating threesome were eventually banned from almost every casino on the planet and had to resort to using fake IDs to get into the venues.

But it was this insatiable greed for ill-gotten cash which ultimately led to their downfall.

“They got greedy and they wanted to go for higher stakes and the higher stakes are in London,” said Mr Livermore. “But the surveillance systems in London are superb and the more greedy they became the more obvious they became and they got caught.”

Camilleri and Baioni were arrested last year, while Farrugia was picked up in January this year.

Their arrests followed a police investigation which found the gang had been using false Italian identity cards to join the capital’s casinos.

Officers discovered that Baioni, another Primrose Hill resident, had more than 50 fake documents.

Both he and Camilleri were issued with suspended sentences in November 2010 and excluded from all premises regulated by the Gambling Commission for the same period of time, as well as receiving curfews.

After pleading guilty to eight charges of possessing bogus documents, Farrugia was given a nine-month suspended sentence at Southwark Crown Court and was made the subject of a supervision order.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

29 minutes ago

Transport for London is set to review safety issues at an accident blackspot in Falloden Way,

13:45

Circus-goers on Hampstead Heath got a shock today when walking down from the Heath they were confronted with a water main shooting water high into the air on the corner of Pilgrim’s Lane and Willow Road in Hampstead.

10:53

Camden’s youngsters were in the spotlight at the Shaw Theatre for an evening celebrating the borough’s talent.

Yesterday, 15:35

Wage cuts for nurses covering sick leave and other increases in demand at Hampstead’s Royal Free Hospital have been postponed after workers threatened to cancel shifts en masse.

Yesterday, 15:00

Brexit uncertainty is one reason for a slowdown in Camden house prices, said a leading estate agent after new data showed that property values in the borough fell 0.8 per cent in August and 2.1pc in the last 12 months.

Yesterday, 14:05

Tickets for a public meeting into the future of the Phoenix Cinema have sold out within days of it being announced.

Yesterday, 13:57

Mitzvah Day volunteers from Hampstead were among those taking part in Sewa Day – a Hindu day of community action – in Kingsbury, Brent this weekend.

Yesterday, 10:29

As part of National Hate Crime Awareness Week, Haringey Police have been engaging with the community to raise awareness of the importance of reporting abuse and discrimination.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now