A professional poker player accused an East Los Angeles deputy officer of stealing $500 worth of casino chips from him in 2020, but the district attorney’s office, following a lengthy investigation, recently decided no charges will be filed.
The alleged incident took place during a traffic stop, in which the apparent victim whose name hasn’t been identified claims Deputy Braulio Robledo illegally swiped poker chips out of his car.
Robledo denied ever having pulled over the poker player, but an internal investigation of video surveillance captured his patrol vehicle at the scene of the alleged crime.
“The Sheriff’s Department holds each of its members to the highest standards and expects them to act with integrity and professionalism,” the department said. “Any employee that violates the public’s trust and engages in misconduct will be investigated and held accountable.”
Multiple previous lawsuits have accused Robledo of being a member of a secretive gang within the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station. Secretive deputy gangs have long been an issue within the entire LAPD. Robledo has a lengthy history of serious accusations, including in 2019 when three women accused the controversial police officer of sexual misconduct. In that instance, similar to the poker chip theft allegations, the DA’s office declined to file charges.
Why Charges Weren’t Filed
The alleged chip theft incident took place in January 2020, and only recently has it been determined that charges will not be filed. Shortly after leaving Commerce Casino, the poker player was pulled over due to expired car registration tags, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney Charge Evaluation Worksheet.
According to the report, the alleged victim has been “uncooperative” during the investigation. Therefore, “the Office is unable to initiate criminal proceedings against Robledo.”
Per the investigation’s findings, the poker player was pulled out of the vehicle and patted down for weapons during the traffic stop. The officer then let the driver go with just a warning.
An employee of Commerce Casino, who is also a personal friend of the driver, told investigators that she witnessed the traffic stop and that the alleged victim told her that $500 worth of casino chips were missing from his bag following the search. Video surveillance of the incident from a nearby business is a bit sketchy and hard to make out exactly what was going on. But, as the report explains, the photos do appear to show a pat down search of the driver on the back of a patrol SUV.
Investigators determined the SUV captured in the surveillance video was assigned to Deputy Robledo. The poker player told authorities he “triple counted” the casino chips he had when he left Commerce that night, and even showed police the poker income tracker app he used to keep record of his wins and losses.
It wasn’t until the alleged victim arrived at home before noticing he was missing $500 — five $100 chips — from his bag. He then called police to report the missing chips, which he alleges occurred during the traffic stop.
But the poker player was, according to the investigation, uncooperative and stopped responding the emails and phone calls from the sheriff’s department. He specified that he declined any further participation in the case due to fearing retaliation from “deputy gangs,” and felt he would be putting his life in danger if he continued with the accusations.
In July 2021, an officer communicated with the alleged victim and requested a call back to further discuss the incident, but the poker player is said to have never returned the call. Numerous further attempts to make contact in the following months, according to the report, were unsuccessful.
In the end, the DA’s office determined there was “insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt” that Robledo committed the crime. The main reason for why charges won’t be filed is due to inconsistencies in the alleged victim’s statement and casino surveillance video.
According to the investigation, the poker pro claimed to have left Commerce Casino with 15 white chips ($100 value chips) and that he was missing five of those chips following the traffic stop. But the casino’s surveillance video appears to show he only left the poker room with 13 white chips, investigators claim.
The report on the incident did, however, give a possible reason as to why there was a discrepancy.
“It is possible that (victim’s name) thought he had 15 white chips, when in fact he had 13. It is possible that the additional two white chips (victim’s name) believe he had were accounted for in cash and that Robledo actually stole a combination of chips and cash totaling $500,” the report stated.
But, as the document reads, it’s also possible that the poker player simply miscounted how much money he had on him upon leaving the casino. As such, along with the alleged victim’s refusal to further cooperate with the investigation, the district attorney’s office doesn’t think they can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This isn’t the only time a casino chip theft incident occurred involving a Los Angeles poker room. During the infamous jack-four scandal on Hustler Casino Live in September 2022, a staff member of the show admitted to swiping $15,000 worth of chips from Robbi Jade Lew’s stack. Formal charges were never filed against the fired HCL employee, Bryan Sagbigsal.