Police Arrest Man Who Impersonated Tribal Chairman and Scammed $700K From Casino

  • The incident took place at the Four Winds Hartford casino
  • The worker drove to a gas station and handed over the money
  • Police searched the suspect’s residence and found some of the cash
Bag of money
Police have arrested a scammer who got $700,000 in cash from a casino after impersonating a tribal chairman over the phone. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

The wild plan

Police have finally tracked down a scammer who impersonated the chairman of a tribe to get $700,000 from a casino. The US Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, Mark Totten, announced on Wednesday the apprehension of Jesus Gaytan-Garcia who allegedly tricked a Four Winds Hartford casino worker into giving him the money.

The scammer rang the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians-owned property on July 30 and claimed to be the tribe’s chairperson. He asked to speak to the cage manager and requested money to cover an emergency payment.

manager received a text message from someone posing as the cage director

While talking to the scammer, the manager received a text message from someone posing as the cage director who was out of town at the time. The text told her that an urgent payment was necessary, to follow the caller’s instructions, and to be “discreet” with the matter.

Tracking down the suspect

The casino supervisor proceeded to gather $700,000 in cash and drive to a gas station in Gary, Indiana to give the money to two people. A co-worker spotted the cage manager leaving the property with a bag of cash in surveillance footage and contacted tribal police. They tracked her down to the gas station and took her into custody as they initially thought she was part of the scam.

used geolocation data and cell tower information to place him at the scene

The Pokagon Tribal Police and the FBI worked together to investigate the incident and eventually managed to identify the 43-year-old suspect. They utilized the license plate information of the car that the men were driving before analyzing geolocation data and cell tower information to place Gaytan-Garcia at the scene.

Phone records show that he called the casino on the day of the theft from the Cancun area.

A concerning trend

A search at the suspect’s residence led to the discovery of cash bundled together with a “SOFT COUNT, JUL 30 2023, HARTFORD” label. Police arrested the Mexico native, who is illegal in the US, four days after executing the search warrant. He had bought two trailers and gold coins with the money.

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians operates three casinos in Michigan and one in Indiana, all of which carry the Four Winds brand.

In the statement, US Attorney Totten emphasized that phone-related scams are becoming more and more prevalent at casinos around the country. The biggest casino heist in Colorado’s history followed a similar pattern, with a cashier giving $500,000 in cash to a man who claimed on the phone to be her boss.

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