Casino employee indicted for embezzling $664,443 from Desert Diamond Casino

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TUCSON, Ariz. - A federal grand jury in Tucson returned an18 count indictment against Adam Thomas Vega, 30, of Tucson, Arizona, for Theft by Officer or Employee of Gaming Establishment on Indian Lands (Counts 1-15) and Attempted Evasion of Assessment and Payment of Federal Individual Income Taxes (Counts 16-18).

U.S. Attorney Diane Humetewa said, "The gaming tribes rely on the integrity of their casino operations to put money back into their local communities. This alleged theft hurts the integrity of the system. Hopefully this indictment will send a message that such individuals will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law possible to preserve the integrity of our Indian gaming casinos in Arizona."

The indictment alleges that between October 2005 and July 2007, while employed as a slot floor person at the Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson, Arizona, Vega created 585 fraudulent jackpot override tickets. All of the false jackpot tickets were for amounts under $1,200 to avoid generating a W-2G federal tax withholding form. Vega submitted the jackpot tickets to the casino cage cashier and a total of $664,422.00 was taken from the casino. Furthermore, the indictment alleges that Vega failed to report any of the money earned from creating the false jackpot tickets as gross income as required by law. He is alleged to have evaded the payment of $23,452 for tax year 2005; $129,248 for tax year 2006; and $53,377 for tax year 2007. The IRS estimates that the Vega evaded paying approximately $205,077 in taxes. The defendant has been summoned to appear on September 18, 2008 at 11:00 am.

A conviction for Theft by Officer or Employee of Gaming Establishment on Indian Lands carries a maximum penalty of 20 years, a $1,000,000 fine or both. A conviction for Attempted Evasion of Assessment and Payment of Federal Individual Income Taxes carries a maximum penalty of 5 years, a $100,00 fine or both. In determining an actual sentence, the judge will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.

An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Tohono O'odham Nation Police Department and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. The prosecution is being handled by Mark Brnovich, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix and Danny Roetzel, Special Assistant
U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson.

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