Las Vegas Prosecutors Drop Federal Case Against Two Video Poker Software Hackers

May 10, 2013

The legal case unfolded during a period of 18 months and involved two men accused of hacking – they were investigated for employing a software bug to win considerable amounts of money playing IGT video poker. The central issue was whether the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 was applicable.

“The United States of America, by and through the undersigned attorneys, hereby moves this Court to dismiss Counts 2 and 3 of the Indictment,” stated Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Chu in a written note.

Video Poker MachinesThe two male individuals, John Kane, 54, and Andre Nestor, 41, are now only faced with one charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, with their trial scheduled to take place on the 20th of August, 2013.

It all began in 2009, when Kane unearthed a firmware bug in IGT’s Game King video poker machine – taking advantage of it afforded him the opportunity to play back a previous winning hand at ten times the original bet. Nestor joined him as he went across Las Vegas and used the bug to beat the house at several casinos but the former eventually made his way to Pennsylvania, where he stripped a certain establishment of $400,000 by playing video poker against it.

Prosecutors contended that the two men’s actions were nothing less than hacking based on the sequence of button clicks and demanded that the bug be installed – defense lawyers, on the other hand, argued that Kane and Nestor were only playing the machine based on its settings.

“The case never should have been filed under the CFAA,” posited Kane’s lawyer, Andrew Leavitt. “It should have been just a straight wire fraud case. And I’m not sure it’s even a wire fraud. I guess we’ll find out when we go to trial.”