What first appeared as good luck at Rhythm City Casino turned out instead to be trouble for 31-year-old Anthony Kueter in December. The Davenport resident landed in jail after allegedly using a fake state ID card, a fake Social Security number, and a Rhythm City player’s card with the name “Jake Evans” to claim two jackpots while circumventing the state’s offset program.
In doing that, he avoided paying the money he owes to the state. Now, according to court records, he faces the following charges:
- Gambling-avoid setup (2 charges)
- 2nd-degree fraudulent practices
According to a local news source, Scott County Jail is holding Kueter on a $21,000 bond. He awaits a preliminary hearing on Feb. 28 in Scott County Court.
What happened at Rhythm City Iowa casino?
Kueter won $1,366.08 playing slots at the Iowa casino on Dec. 4, 2022. When he couldn’t provide valid ID to claim that prize, staff at the casino’s cashier’s cage held his winnings as a “no ID” jackpot. He received a receipt for claiming his taxable prize money when he could furnish acceptable documentation.
Affidavits state that he left Rhythm City shortly after midnight on Dec. 5 and then returned around 8:27 p.m. that night. At about 9:17 p.m., he allegedly returned to the cashier’s cage with a fraudulent ID and falsely documented his Social Security number. He collected $1,297.78 after deducting state taxes from his winnings. No federal taxes were deducted at his request.
Shortly after, Kueter won about $1,250 at another slot machine. Once again, he allegedly presented false ID and elected to have state but not federal taxes withheld. To receive both jackpots, he signed a mandatory W-9 form (“Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification”) with the name “Jake Evans.” The W-9 certifies under perjury.
A Scott County deputy apprehended Kueter in a car after Rhythm City’s digital surveillance system had recorded his activities at the casino. Authorities confiscated the fake ID cards and identified Kuetner by his real name and Social Security number.
It turned out that he owes around $39,131 through the state’s offset program. But because he’d furnished a fake Social Security number, Rhythm City hadn’t collected any of the money he allegedly owed the state. The Scott County Sheriff’s Office apprised the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation of the arrest on Dec. 10, as reported by Siouxland Proud.
More failed attempts to avoid the offset program
This episode wasn’t the first time someone has tried to avoid paying what they owe to the state. Three recent Iowa cases of “jackpot switching” have resulted in one plea-deal sentencing and two other arrests. The state criminalized the practice in July 2022.
In two separate January incidents at Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson, a woman from Carrol and a woman from Ames allegedly switched seats with the actual slot winners and claimed their jackpots. The legit winners each owed money to Iowa.
Before those incidents, on Nov. 30, authorities arrested Dajo Granberry of Sioux City in another case of jackpot switching at the Hard Rock Casino, according to Radio Iowa. And similarly, Granberry had convinced someone else to claim his $2,400 in prize money to avoid paying owed offset funds.
This month, Granberry pled guilty to the two felony Class D criminal charges in Woodbury County District Court. He was sentenced to two suspended consecutive five-year terms. He’ll serve two years probation, however, and undergo mandated substance abuse and mental health evaluations.
What is Iowa’s offset program?
The Offset Program is a method used to collect money owed to the state under Iowa Code § 8A.504. Along with that, Iowa law requires that casinos screen jackpot winners against a state database for owed funds like delinquent child support and back taxes.
These kinds of delinquent payments lie behind most cases of jackpot switching, Brian Ohorilko, Administrator at the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, told PlayIA.com.
If screening reveals a winner does indeed owe back funds, any jackpot winnings are applied to outstanding debts. In the two Wild Rose cases, the actual winners owed over $1,310 and $24,000.
Other Iowa casino true crime cases
Casino crimes can range from the mundane to the violent. Perhaps in the former category, 51-year-old David Jennings of Bettendorf has been charged with a felony for the alleged Oct. 6, 2022 theft of a $1,700 Trek FX sports bike.
He allegedly took it off a car parked at the Isle in Bettendorf. Jennings allegedly paid others to pawn the bike, according to OurQuadCities.com. He currently awaits a Mar. 2 preliminary hearing in Scott County Court.
And following another, more serious, incident at the Isle in Waterloo, a Black Hawk County jury in January found Damon Jamar, 46, guilty of assault causing bodily injury to Montana Gunhus of Evansville. Gunhus had allegedly taken Williams’ wife’s loyalty card from a slot machine and used $100 in free play credits.
On learning this, Williams allegedly punched and kicked Gunhus for about 25 seconds after pushing him to the casino floor. Gunhus has already successfully sued the casino for $1.98 million in civil court on the grounds that its policy of no staff intervention during an assault contributed to his injuries, including the loss of vision in one eye.
Casinos, of course, have security measures like surveillance cameras, which helped in all these cases. Still, visitors are always encouraged to maintain “situational awareness,” when at or leaving a casino — or even driving home from one.