More carnival workers busted for fraud

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Updated: 10/07/2011 11:58 am Published: 10/06/2011 9:26 pm

Two more carnival workers are busted Thursday night for cheating fairgoers.

After complaints against games, Tulsa County Sheriff’s deputies went undercover and arrested Kenneth McLeod and Anthony Ellis.  Deputies say they tried to charge $20 for a dart at a dart game, or offered free darts to manipulate fairgoers; a violation of posted rules.

Wednesday, a deputy went undercover and arrested Eric Prince, 41 for offering $80 for one dart to win a Batman doll.

The offers sound outrageous but deputies say it happens a lot.

The price may not be illegal but if their pitch doesn’t match the rules they are breaking the Oklahoma Carnival Gaming Act.

There is the thrill of victory of possibly winning a prize for someone special.

"It's like a casino, it's addictive, you think you are about to win and most likely you are not,” says fairgoer Stephanie Ryan.

The agony of an empty wallet isn’t on the minds of fairgoers.

"They get you all excited about it and you don't know how much you are spending until you are done,” says fairgoer Milly Smith.

Tulsa County Sheriff’s Sergeant Bob Darby went undercover and busted Prince.

"He was allowing them to throw extra darts, he was not counting correctly on the amount of money,” says Darby.

He says the worker’s con cost the couple way more than what was posted on the rules.

"They had to scrape together to give them $40 to walk away with a prize they had their heart set on,” says Darby.

Darby caught on and tried his luck at winning a Batman doll.

"Eighty dollars for one dart I've read the rules here many, many times here and that's ridiculous,” says Darby.

Darby says the worker claimed he needed to make money off the eight dollars Batman cost him.

"The operator saw money and he decided to take an opportunity,” says Darby.

Murphy Brothers, which operates the carnival games, won’t tolerate that kind of unfair play.

"That's outrageous, you're absolutely right,” says Murphy Brothers Concession Manager Paul Nemeth, Jr. "We do not condone that in any way shape or form."

Fairgoers may say they know better but deputies say they fall for it all the time.

"They'll cheat you out of your money, they'll make it seem like it's free but it's not, not even close,” says Ryan.

Deputies warn it’s a buyer beware market on the Midway.

"They are required to paly by the rules just like you are required to play by the rules. If you don't understand turn around and walk away,” says Darby.

The key rule to keep in mind, is to pay for what you play. If the carnival worker gets you to play more than what you paid for, make sure you hand over your money for every play ahead of time.  

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Cheyenne - 11/25/2011 7:25 PM
1 Vote
Reporter, Abbie Alford, did a great job reporting the "tip of the iceberg." Google "ABC NEWS 20/20 CARNIVAL GAMES" to see Barbara Walters' feature about Murphy Brother's scam artists. Better yet, Google "U.S. TROOPS CHEATED OUT OF MONEY AT CARNIVAL, CBS NEWS" and see what a Murphy related carnival, Century 21 Shows, was doing to returning combat veterans and their families at Fort Hood this year. It is RAMPANT! Why? Because it is tradition for crooked carnival owners to pay off public and elected officials with dubious con-tirbutions so they can operate fraud and gambling game concessions without police interference. This, out of control and largely unregulated industry is explained in "Carnival Games: $10,000,000,000 Hoodwink Racket, - Organized Crime on American Midways." In his interview, Murphy's manager did an award winning job of showing such concern for victims. There is much cash obtained from carnival games, and everyone gets a cut of the action, including midway managers. Where's R.I.C.O. ?

kindagreywolf - 10/8/2011 6:52 AM
1 Vote
Theres been fraud and theft at the fair for years. What makes this year special? I can go down through each game and show you how there rigged.

Unwashed Mass - 10/7/2011 10:38 AM
0 Votes
How petty of the sheriff's department. Just write a ticket, no need to drag them handcuffed through the crowds like some Medieval pageant.

scwill - 10/7/2011 12:39 AM
1 Vote
My family went to the fair and most of the ride operators are very rude. One guy in his 30's flirting with 14 yr old girls and holding up the line to do so.
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