Man found in creek was casino employee named in 2016 case

By Roger DuPuis and Dan Stokes - [email protected]
Crane -

WILKES-BARRE — The body discovered in a creek in the city’s Miner’s Mills section was that of a Mohegan Sun Pocono employee who was previously named as an informant in a 2016 corruption case.

Luzerne County Deputy Coroner Dan Hughes said Matthew Crane, 28, of Shavertown, was pulled from Mill Creek on Saturday.

Hughes said Sunday that he was not immediately able to determine the manner or cause of Crane’s death, and that an autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

“Matthew was a Mohegan Sun Pocono team member and we are extremely saddened by his loss,” Mohegan Sun Pocono President and CEO Anthony Carlucci said in a statement provided to the Times Leader on Sunday.

Individuals who knew Crane told the Times Leader that he had been employed there for about seven years, and that news of his death left many shaken and saddened.

In January 2016, court documents cited in media reports indicated that allegations by Crane, a table dealer, led state police to investigate three other people in connection with a conspiracy to defraud the casino out of more than $400,000 through illicit use of free slot play credits.

Those suspects were former Mohegan Sun Pocono cocktail waitress Rochelle Poszeluznyj, identified as formerly having a relationship with Crane; Mark Heltzel, a casino regular who was involved in a romantic relationship with Poszeluznyj; and Robert Pellegrini, then the casino’s vice president of player development.

All three people in the scheme pleaded guilty in federal court.

Poszeluznyj received six months on house arrest and two years of probation in August 2017, while Heltzel received an 18-month federal prison sentence earlier that month.

In June 2017, Pellegrini received a 32-month federal prison sentence in connection with that case. In June of this year, Pellegrini pleaded guilty to his role in an alleged conspiracy to rig a $10,000 Easter sweepstakes at the casino in 2014. He received probation in that case.

As of Sunday night, federal records indicated that Pelligrini remained incarcerated at FCI-Schuylkill with a scheduled release date of Oct. 29, 2019. Heltzel, meanwhile, was listed as being held at a Philadelphia facility with a Dec. 15 release date.

Difficult rescue

Police received a call around 4:30 p.m. Saturday that a passerby saw a body floating face down in Mill Creek, and authorities on the scene cordoned off the area with yellow tape.

It took about an hour to retrieve the body due to steep terrain leading down to the water and slipper conditions following Saturday’s rainfall.

There’s about a 30-foot drop from the nearby train tracks that cross Oak Street to the section of the creek where Crane’s body was found. The body was brought up at about 6 p.m.

Officers from the city, Plains Township, state police as well as members from the Luzerne County Coroner’s office were at the scene, along with two fire trucks because the area where Crane was found is right at the city’s border with the township.

City police will lead the investigation. Contacted Sunday, an officer said there was no new information yet.

Matthew Crane, 28, was named as informant in ‘16 case

By Roger DuPuis and Dan Stokes

[email protected]

Reach Dan Stokes at 570-991-6389 or on Twitter @ByDanStokes

Reach Dan Stokes at 570-991-6389 or on Twitter @ByDanStokes