Man Responsible for Casino Theft in Michigan Indicted

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The man responsible for the theft of $700,000 from Hartford’s Four Winds Casino last Summer has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Jesus Gaytan-Garcia was called before a federal court and indicted on two federal charges, a 10-year felony for the transportation of stolen money between states and a 5-year felony charge for stealing from an Indian Tribal organization. The Mexican-born, Chicago man took part in an elaborate telephone scheme to defraud Hartford’s Four Winds Casino, proudly owned by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.

According to reports by police, a telephone call (with a Mexico area code) came into the casino on July 30th at 1:23 pm from someone posing as a tribal council member named Charles Martinez. The call was then transferred to the cage manager on duty. While on the phone, the case manager then began receiving text messages from a number claiming to be the cage director instructing her to follow the caller’s instructions, that she would need to make a cash transaction and do so discretely.

The casino security footage shows the manager retrieving and leaving the building with $700,000 in her bag. Another Four Wind’s employee noticed the unusual activity, reported the situation, and the authorities were soon called.

Pokagon Tribal Police Department arrived on the scene only to realize the cage manager had already left in her vehicle. Her vehicle was identified by an automated license plate reader in Gary, Indiana, nearly 2 hours after she left the casino.

The cage manager later reported the following events to the local public police department.

After leaving the casino with $700,000, she stayed on the telephone line with the caller until they allegedly instructed her to purchase a pre-paid phone at a Walmart in Benton Harbor. The caller then instructed her to go to a nearby gas station. She followed their orders and ended up at a Citgo in Gary, Indiana. After waiting 15 minutes, she was met by two men in a Chrysler Pacifica who intercepted the cash and drove away.

She shared her location with her actual supervisor who informed the police, beginning a lengthy investigation.

Investigators eventually found the individual whom the Chrysler Pacifica had been registered under; Jesus Gaytan-Garcia’s wife. There is police body camera footage of Gaytan-Garcia getting pulled over for going 109 mph in a 75 mph speed limit.

After locating Gayan-Garcia’s residence via geolocation from his phone and email, the police obtained a search warrant and searched his home. While the defendant wasn’t present, his family members recalled the fact that he “seemed to suddenly have a lot of money.” The investigators then found indistinguishable evidence while searching his safe and finding a wad of $100 bills accompanied by the label: “Hartford, July 30, 2023.” The very date of the reported Hartford casino theft.

U.S. Attorney Totten said, “The amount of money involved in this theft is extraordinary…Unfortunately, instances of telephone scams at casinos are on the rise across the country, impacting both tribal and commercial gaming operations. Thanks to the dedicated, joint investigation of Pokagon Tribal police and the FBI, we were able to identify and arrest one of the perpetrators of this scheme that targeted the Hartford Four Winds Casino.”

Jesus Gaytan-Garcia was charged in a criminal complaint in Grand Rapids, MI in US District Court.

Mac Daniel is a writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit: playonlinemichigan.com