Singapore isn't the kind of place you want to get caught committing a crime. But that didn’t stop a group of 13 Thai nationals who tried to cheat the Marina Bay Sands Casino. On Saturday, The National reported that nine men and four women were handed jail sentences ranging from 12 to 17 months. District Judge Soh Sze Bian called the heist “unparalleled both in terms of sophistication and sum cheated.”

This definitely wasn't a smash-and-grab operation. On May 6, 2013, the group managed to steal a shoe out of a cabinet in the casino, take it back to their hotel room, photograph the cards in sequence, then put the cards back in the shoe and put the shoe back in the cabinet. Then six members of the group started playing baccarat – some versions of the story say it was blackjack – and won nearly $1.4 million in three hours before getting caught.

None of this happened overnight. The group reportedly conducted rehearsals at a casino in Manila a month before the Singapore job. At some point, they either obtained or fabricated a key for the cabinet, located in the casino's Paiza gambling lounge (a favorite hotspot for Asian high-rollers). The group somehow avoided detection from the cameras. They also tried to cover their tracks by intentionally losing some money at the tables. It didn't work.

Laos in the Shuffle

The story doesn't end there. One man remains at large: Sengmanivong Soum, the alleged ringleader. Sengmanivong, then a 50-year-old businessman from Laos, was arrested along with the 13 Thai group members, but was allowed to return to his home country after posting nearly $2 million in bail. Where is Sengmanivong now? Dead, according to his lawyer. The court was told in May that Sengmanivong had suffered a heart attack the previous month.

If you think that sounds a bit shady, you're not alone. The court has decided to keep Sengmanivong's arrest warrant active until his death can be proven. In the meantime, his colleagues have gotten off rather lightly; the maximum sentence for their offense was seven years.