Points For Pills Caper Unearthed at South Dakota Grand River Casino

Posted on: October 8, 2019, 11:20h. 

Last updated on: October 8, 2019, 01:26h.

In August, Candace Crow Ghost, the former marketing director at the Grand River Casino, a tribal gaming venue in South Dakota, admitted to bilking her employer out of $5,000. But the story doesn’t end there.

A South Dakota man admitted to trading prescription pills to a former Grand River Casino staffer for meals and players club points. (Image: YouTube)

Fresh documents filed in US District Court District of South Dakota North Division reveal Ghost swapped players club points and free meals for prescription drugs, namely hydrocodone. Quenton Brown Otter signed the court documents, admitting he traded hydrocodone to Ghost for increased club benefits and comped meals at the Grand River.

Brown Otter is now banned from the property, which is operated by Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. He’s expected to enter a guilty plea in US District Court on Oct. 21.

Beginning sometime in December 2016, Quenton James Brown Otter, the Defendant, was involved in a scheme with a staff member of the Grand River Casino, namely Candace Crow Ghost, located on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, located in the District of South Dakota, in which the Defendant would trade prescription medication for ‘player points,’” according to a court document obtained by Casino.org.

The federal government classifies hydrocodone as a Schedule II controlled substance. Other examples of drugs with that classification are fentanyl, methadone, morphine, opium, oxycodone and pentobarbital.

“Substances in this schedule have a high potential for abuse, which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence,” according to the Justice Department.

It’s The Principle

In terms of gaming industry scams, the points-for-pills caper that took place at the Grand River Casino was relatively small. The court documents signed by Brown Otter indicate Ghost gave him 49,000 in players club points, with a dollar value of $490, and comped $157.14 in meals for him. Those meals weren’t earned through play, according to the filing.

Brown Otter had a legitimate hydrocodone prescription for back pain he suffered as a result of falling off a roof.

“The Defendant stated that he would give Crow Ghost the pills outside the casino, never inside,” according to the court filing, which cited Brown Otter’s interview with the FBI.

Brown said in the court filing he was glad to get this matter “off his chest” and doesn’t care that he’s banned from Grand River’s premises because he’s saving money by not gambling, because “all he ever does is sit there and lose.”

Brown Otter is now one of 10 people barred from the tribal gaming property.

Catching A Break

Brown Otter will plead guilty to distribution of a controlled substance, a charge that, at the federal level, carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine, or both. The US agrees to sentence the defendant within the applicable guidelines, but court documents indicate that due to his cooperation in the matter, Brown Otter could be sentenced two levels below maximum standards for substance distribution.

He’s also being ordered to repay $647.14 to Grand River Casino and pay $100 in court costs.