Michigan Casino Telephone Scam Suspect Arrested, Allegedly Collected $700K

An illegal migrant was arrested this week for allegedly taking part in a scheme where $700K was stolen from Michigan’s Four Winds Hartford Casino.

Mark Totten
U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten, pictured above, announced the arrest of a suspect in a casino scam. (Image: WXMI)

Jesus Gaytan-Garcia, 43, now of Chicago, was charged for the July 30 theft, which took place after a scam call was made to a cash cage supervisor at the gaming property.

The caller pretended to be the chairperson of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, according to Michigan TV station WZZM. That tribe operates the gaming property.

The call ordered casino workers to bring the money to a Gary, Indiana gas station so that a critical payment could be made.

The supervisor also got text messages from someone who claimed to be her boss. The messages told her they needed “to make an urgent payment within the ‘next 20 min,’” prosecutors said.

Money Stuffed in Handbag

The casino employee gathered several bundles of cash from a drawer and placed the loot into a “large Michael Kors handbag,” according to court documents.

The employee, identified as Danika Young, 38, then took the cash from the casino and drove the 81 miles toward the gas station.

Based on instructions, she stopped on the way at the Walmart in Benton Harbor, Mich., where she purchased a prepaid cellphone.

Once at the gas station, she gave the money to two men in a minivan. She did not know either of the men, according to U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten.

A coworker at the casino became concerned about the incident and alerted the security office at the gaming property. Security officers contacted Pokagon tribal police, who — along with the FBI — took over the investigation and searched for the suspects.

They were able to identify and charge Gaytan-Garcia as one of the suspects who received the cash at the gas station. During a February 28 search of his residence, cash was found in a safe. It was wrapped in paper on which appeared “Hartford” and the July 30 date.

Gayton-Garcia was charged with theft from an Indian tribal organization, according to WOOD. As the case was investigated, court documents revealed that Gaytan-Garcia, who is originally from Mexico, entered the U.S. illegally.

Shortly after the cash was delivered to the gas station, Young was charged with embezzlement. The charges against her were dropped in December.

Telephone Scams

“The amount of money involved in this theft is extraordinary,” Totten said in a recent statement. “Unfortunately, instances of telephone scams at casinos are on the rise across the country, impacting both tribal and commercial gaming operations.”

In similar scams nationwide, artificial intelligence may be used to make it appear the calls originate from numbers assigned to the casino.

The post Michigan Casino Telephone Scam Suspect Arrested, Allegedly Collected $700K appeared first on Casino.org.

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