Casino Employee Pleads Guilty for Embezzling $664,442 From Tucson Casino

TUCSON, Ariz. (LAWFUEL) – Adam Thomas Vega, 31, of Tucson, pleaded guilty today in Tucson federal court to the largest casino related theft by an employee in Arizona casino history. Vega was originally charged in an 18-count indictment in September 2008. Today he pleaded guilty to one count of Theft by an Officer or Employee of Gaming Establishment on Indian Lands and one count of Attempted Evasion of Assessment and Payment of Federal Individual Income Taxes. In doing so, he admitted to stealing $644,422 from the Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson where he worked as a slot floor person.

Vega fraudulently obtained various supervisors’ passwords allowing him to generate fraudulent Jackpot Override Tickets in various amounts. Between October 1, 2005 through July 9, 2007, Vega generated 585 fraudulent Jackpot Override Tickets for amounts ranging from $100 to $1199. 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; a total of $664,422 was taken from the casino.

While Vega did file tax returns for calendar years 2005-2007, he failed to report any of the income he received from the false jackpot slips. The Internal Revenue Service estimated that he evaded paying a total of $205,077 in taxes. The plea agreement provides that Vega will provide restitution to the Tohono O’odham Nation as well as paying any back taxes owed.

Sentencing is set before U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson on June 19, 2009. 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 five years, a $100,000 fine or both. In determining an actual sentence, Judge Jorgenson 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.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Tohono O’odham Police Department and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. The prosecution is being handled by Mark Brnovich, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.


RELEASE NUMBER: 2009-127(Vega)

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