South Dakota Casino Employee Hands Over $350K to Two Scammers



The man accused of deceiving a South Dakota gaming property worker out of $350K appeared in court this week. The employee collected the cash from the casino cage and turned it over to the defendant at a gas station.

Grand River Casino
The Grand River Casino, pictured above. A suspect was arrested after allegedly convincing a casino worker to collect $350K from the cashier’s cage and then bringing it to him. (Image: Grand River Casino)

Roberto Orellana, 44, of Omaha, Neb., who received the cash, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to grand theft, according to the Mitchell Daily Republic.

Judge Chris Giles denied changing the bond conditions for Orellana. There is a bond hold on him that was requested by federal authorities.

The case could be heading to trial. If convicted, Orellana could face up to 15 years in prison and pay as much as a $30K fine.

Employee Got Instructions

The incident began when the unnamed Grand River Casino employee, who worked in the Mobridge, SD, property’s cashier’s cage, got a scam text on his phone.

The first text told him to transfer the cash into bitcoins at a machine in Aberdeen, SD. A second text gave the employee new instructions telling him to bring the $350K to a man purported to be a lawyer representing the casino. The two were to meet at a gas station, identified as the Dakota Sunset station, in Mitchell, SD.

Mitchell is near Sioux Falls, SD, about 236 miles away from Grand River.

Having driven there, the casino employee turned the money over to two men who were waiting for him in the gas station’s parking lot.

Payment Related to ‘Audit’

The texts claimed a firm was conducting an “audit” and the money would prevent additional fines against the casino. The sender of the texts pretended to be the employee’s boss.

Upon investigating the incident, Brian Larson, a special agent with South Dakota’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), was able to view surveillance video at the gas station. He was able to identify the credit card used by one of the suspects.

The man who presented the credit card turned out to live in Omaha, Neb. and owned the car used by the two suspects. Later, Orellana was charged in connection with the theft. It’s unclear if the second suspect at the gas station will be charged. There’s been no indication of whether the casino employee was investigated for any possible charges.

Grand River Casino and Resort is owned and operated by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Authorities didn’t say what happened to the money or how the nefarious plot wound up being reported to officials.

Similar incidents have taken place at other US casinos recently.

The post South Dakota Casino Employee Hands Over $350K to Two Scammers appeared first on Casino.org.

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