Mississippi Casino Ex-Worker Sentenced in Federal Court After $18K Embezzlement

Posted on: March 23, 2021, 10:54h. 

Last updated on: March 23, 2021, 11:50h.

A 31-year-old former employee of Mississippi’s Pearl River Resort Silver Star Casino is heading to prison for three years followed by supervised release for allegedly stealing cash from the gaming property.

Nickey worked as a cashier in a store at the casino complex
Mississippi US District Court Judge Henry T. Wingate shown here. The judge sentenced Darren Nickey for three years for allegedly stealing over $18,000 from a tribal casino in the state. (Image: The Clarion-Ledger)

Darren Nickey agreed to the sentence Friday after getting charged with theft by an employee of a gaming establishment on Indian lands. Nickey must also pay $18,340 in restitution under the sentencing agreement.

Mississippi US District Court Judge Henry T. Wingate also ordered Nickey placed under supervised release for three years after leaving prison.

Acting Mississippi US Attorney Darren J. LaMarca explained in a statement that Nickey was initially found to have embezzled over $1,000 on each of three occurrences in 2016 from cash recyclers in the casino.

Nickey worked as a cashier in a store at the casino complex. He had access to a cash recycler in order to stock his cash register with currency. Nickey allegedly used log-in passwords from coworkers to hide the cash thefts.

Officials conducted an additional investigation and found that Nickey allegedly stole a total of $18,340. There were over 40 withdrawals.

Nickey was indicted on Dec. 12, 2018. He pled guilty on Feb. 19, 2019. The case was investigated by the Choctaw Police Department of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

Several Tribal Casinos Victimized

In an unrelated case, earlier this month Jennifer Lynn Boutto, 32, pled guilty to embezzling more than $300,000 from Minnesota’s Fortune Bay Resort Casino over six years. She worked at the tribal casino as a front-desk supervisor.

Boutto pled guilty to a single count of embezzlement and theft of tribal funds. Sentencing will take place at a later time. She faces a maximum of five years in prison and the restitution of stolen funds.

The casino is owned and operated by the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa tribe.

In still another unrelated case, in July a Florida couple were sentenced for their roles in a scheme to rig gaming machines to embezzle millions from the Miccosukee Resort in West Miami-Dade.

Lester Lavin, 41, a former video-gaming machine technician and supervisor at the Miccosukee tribe-owned casino, pled guilty to conspiring with three colleagues to bilk his employer out of more than $5 million by creating bogus credit vouchers that could be exchanged for cash on the gaming floor.

Lavin was sentenced by US District Court Judge Darrin P. Gayle to more than four years for theft, computer fraud, and money laundering.

His girlfriend, Anisleydi Vergel Hermida, pled guilty to a single count of money laundering. She was sentenced to six months in prison.

As of last year, the three colleagues charged in the case were awaiting sentencing. The thefts took place between 2011 and 2015.