Michigan Casino Employee Sentenced, Must Repay Stolen $84K

Posted on: January 3, 2024, 11:10h. 

Last updated on: January 4, 2024, 11:18h.

A former worker at Michigan’s Gun Lake Casino who stole more than $84K after the currency got jammed in machines was sentenced this week to four months behind bars.

Gun Lake Casino
Gun Lake Casino, pictured above. A former casino worker was sentenced for stealing money. (Image: Gun Lake Casino)

Jordan Lewis Cook, 26, of Hopkins, Mich., must also pay $84,564 in restitution to the casino for the money he swiped, according to Michigan federal judge Jane Beckering.

He was placed on two years of supervised release after his release from jail, according to the sentence handed down Wednesday at the Grand Rapids, Mich., courthouse.

Currency Got Clogged

As part of his job, Cook was responsible for clearing out clogged currency that had been placed into cash-out machines by casino players. The devices were at kiosks placed throughout the casino floor. The wrinkled or improperly inserted bills sometimes would clog the machines.

The thefts took place between September 2021 and November 2022. Cook stole cash at least 32 times over 14 months, prosecutors said. The amounts he stole in each incident ranged between $272 and $9,040.

The wrongdoing was discovered by an internal audit and Cook was spotted in surveillance video taking the cash, prosecutors said. He was arrested last March for stealing from an Indian Tribal organization.

Cook faced up to five years in prison for the incidents that took place at the Wayland, Mich. gaming property. A plea agreement was accepted by U.S. Magistrate Judge Ray Kent in September.

Bought Truck

Investigators revealed that Cook deposited the stolen money in his personal Lake Michigan Credit Union bank account. He used some of the ill-gotten money to buy a used Chevrolet pickup truck, prosecutors said.

Mr. Cook’s behavior was very out of character for him, and he maintains that it will never happen again,” his attorney, Jessica E. LaFond, stated in a court document, according to Michigan TV station WOOD.

But prosecutors pointed to his guilt.

“The defendant was in a position of trust,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Lane said in another court document.

“This case reflects my office’s strong commitment to working in partnership with Tribal leadership and law enforcement to prosecute crimes that occur on tribal lands, including theft from Tribal businesses,” Mark A. Totten, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan said in a statement. “Together, we will hold criminals accountable for their wrongdoing.”

Gun Lake Casino is operated by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians. It has over 2,500 slot machines. Gun Lake Casino is located some 20 miles south of Grand Rapids.