Talking their way into lots of money

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has issued a warning to casinos about a lucrative scam that has been seen not just in Nevada, but around the country. In a notice to its licensees on Friday, the NGCB explained that the fraudsters use social engineering to manipulate casino cage employees into handing over large sums of money.

The scam itself is rather simple, both preying on an employee’s fear of not doing their job and the enticement of potential monetary rewards. The subjects pose as casino executives and tell the cashier that they need money quickly for a casino emergency.

“The imposters often pose as high-level executives and will contact a cage employee via a PBX call,” the NGCB explains. “The initial call is frequently followed up with a text message to the employee’s cell phone, purportedly sent by a second manager to confirm the fraudulent instructions.”

The casino employee then gets the money and gives it to the fraudster off casino property.

The subjects research the employees, casino owners, and others having to do with money operations in order to appear legitimate. And, as described above, they apparently gain access to internal phone lines and find out cell phone numbers.

The scammers use “a variety of scenarios to manipulate personnel based on a fear of negative
consequences for casino employees and/or operations. Whenever an employee hesitates or resists prompt action, subjects state there is extreme urgency for the offsite payment. Additionally, inferences are made that an employee bonus will be paid for the inconvenience of the unorthodox assignment.”

The NGCB said that scam is evolving and that the criminals are beginning to target casino pits, as well.

Man got over $1 million from Circa

The warning comes a few weeks after a man was arrested for allegedly scamming the Circa Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas out of $1.17 million.

On June 17, 23-year-old Erik Gutierrez allegedly contacted the casino cage posing as the owner of the property and asked for $320,000 for an emergency payment to the fire department. The fire department, he said, “needed to do a check on the fire extinguishers” and “would need a payment for further safety devices.”

The cage supervisor then took multiple payments to Gutierrez at different locations off-site. The entire time she was in contact with Gutierrez, she thought she was talking on the phone with the hotel’s owner and texting with her manager. When she met Gutierrez for the money handoff, she thought he was the hotel owner’s lawyer.

Police were able to track the car used in the theft, eventually getting a warrant to search the home at which it was found. Among other items, they found a “large bag of U.S. currency bundled together with the name Circa written on the bundle.”

Gutierrez was arrested on June 18 and a judge set his bail at $25,000 with the requirement that he stay away from Circa and the downtown casinos.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *