Michigan Four Winds Casino Employee Accused of $700K Theft

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A Michigan casino employee has been accused of embezzling $700,000 from her workplace, with the cash still missing.

The accused, Danika Young, 38, was a supervisor at the cash cage of the Four Winds Hartford Casino (pictured), which is operated by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.

The incident reportedly took place on July 30, when Young claims someone contacted her and told her to take $700k from the casino cage and bring it to Gary, Indiana, where it would be picked up.

Young is accused of following those instructions and dropping off the cash, and she was later apprehended by police in Gary before being brought back to Michigan.

Even with these few details, the case shows striking similarities to a series of similar high-value casino thefts across the U.S in 2023, including $1 million stolen from Circa Las Vegas, also in June, and March’s $500k theft from Monarch Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado.

The Disappearance of $700K

Young’s role at the casino involved the responsibility of handling millions of dollars.

On the day of the incident, she allegedly received a call from an unknown number instructing her to bring the money to Gary. Following the instructions, she is said to have counted out $700,000, placed it in a bag, and walked out of the casino.

She then reportedly met someone in Gary and handed over the money.

It has no been revealed what relation the alleged caller had or claimed to have with Young or anyone in the incident, and police say neither the caller nor the missing cash have been found.

“Very Sorry for What Happened”

Young was arrested in Gary and extradited back to Michigan. She was booked into the Van Buren County Jail and charged with embezzlement by an employee of $100,000 or more. During her arraignment, Young expressed her remorse, stating, “I’m very sorry for what happened. This is my first charge, sir.”

Despite her defense attorney’s plea for a personal recognizance bond, citing her 16 years of employment with Four Winds, her child, and the support from her family in the area, the judge set the bond at $1 million.

“My concern is a very simple concern,” Judge Arthur Clarke said, as reported by local outlet WoodTV.

“That $700,000 has not been located. My concern is if I release you and $700,000 would show up and you would be off to wherever and I would not see you again.”

Rise in Casino Thefts

This latest case mirrors several high-profile incidents at U.S casinos in 2023, where large amounts of cash have been taken off-premises and delivered to someone claiming to be a senior employee or owner.

While there is currently no word on this ongoing investigation in Michigan and the veracity of Young’s claims, the employee’s story does link up with the general modus operandi reported by this new type of casino scammer.

In July, the National Indian Gaming Commission issued an official warning to tribal casinos on the dangers of this type of con.

Whether Young’s account is the truth or not, it is clear that the efforts so far were not enough to prevent another theft occurring in this case.

Young, who has no previous criminal record, is expected back in court on Aug. 9 and Aug. 16 for her next hearings. If convicted, she could face a prison term of up to 20 years.

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