Deadwood Casino Patron Charged with Grand Theft Denies Wrongdoing

Posted on: July 7, 2022, 01:57h. 

Last updated on: July 20, 2022, 02:52h.

The trials for six people accused of cheating a Deadwood casino out of more than $100,000 in cash began this week. The first individual entered a not guilty plea.

Gold Dust Casino theft ATM cash Deadwood
The Gold Dust Casino floor in Deadwood. The gaming parlor, state law enforcement alleges, was where six individuals unlawfully stole at least $100,000 in cash from a malfunctioning cashier kiosk. (Image: Rapid City Journal)

A Lawrence County grand jury in May indicted six individuals for their alleged roles in swindling money from a defective cashier kiosk inside the Gold Dust Casino last November. Prosecutors in the South Dakota Gold Rush town allege that one of the individuals, identified as 34-year-old Daniel Wade Emme, discovered in November that an ATM machine inside the casino was malfunctioning.

After withdrawing cash from the standalone kiosk, Emme realized the transaction never hit his actual bank account. After determining that the machine was dispensing cash without communicating with his bank, Emme and the five others allegedly performed numerous withdrawals totaling in excess of six digits.

Emme pleaded not guilty during his first appearance before 4th Circuit Court Judge Eric Strawn in the Lawrence County Courthouse. Emme in 2017 was convicted of a felony drug possession charge, which enhances the grand larceny charge currently before him from a Class 3 to a Class 2 felony. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

Ill-Gotten Cash

Emme, along with the five others, is facing grand theft and conspiracy charges. The other defendants are Christopher Auwerter, 32, Courtland Blaylock, 23, Shea Fleming, 31, Crystal Hufford, 29, and Brandon McCay, 30. All are South Dakota residents living near the historic Deadwood mining town that is today a popular tourist destination with its famed Main Street gaming parlors.

Law enforcement alleges that the casino kiosk was operated by Global Payments, a Las Vegas-based manufacturer that provides the gaming industry with an array of financial technology solutions.

Global Payments built the gaming industry’s first full-service, end-to-end kiosk that it claims is capable of replacing staffed casino cashier cages. The standalone financial transaction machine can redeem ticket slips, process jackpot filings and tax documents, break large bills, complete ATM withdrawals, and provide cash advances.

State prosecutors say Emme and the five others used the malfunctioning kiosk as their personal piggy banks. Lawrence County State’s Attorney John Fitzgerald says the six charged conspired to steal as much cash as possible from the deficient machine.

They learned of a glitch, a deficiency, in the Global Payment kiosk machine at the Gold Dust Casino and what was happening was that they were able to withdraw money from Gold Dust Casino without any deductions occurring on their credit cards or their debit cards,” Fitzgerald explained.

The county attorney alleges that the six people charged routinely visited the kiosk over a three-week span in an effort to conceal their crimes. In all, the state believes they illegally stole at least $100,000, but not more than $500,000, from the malfunctioning terminal.

ATMs Highly Secure

Malfunctioning ATM machines are rare, but problems do occur from time to time. But when a machine wrongly dispenses cash, it’s a crime to knowingly keep the money.

Even when an ATM or similar device like the Global Payment kiosk runs amok, the technology behind the terminals keeps a detailed track record of which card was inserted when the malfunction occurred.

ATM machines balance their transactions daily. And their track records are easily able to identify which transactions did not properly hit/communicate with a customer’s bank in the rare case of such a hiccup.