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Undocumented immigrant charged after stealing $700,000 from Michigan casino
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Undocumented immigrant charged after stealing $700,000 from Michigan casino

An illegal immigrant from Mexico has been criminally charged after stealing $700,000 from a casino in west Michigan in 2023, according to the Detroit News. Investigators claimed that the man pretended to be a tribal chairman and told the casino that he needed the money for an urgent payment.

Jesus Gaytan-Garcia, 43, was taken into custody last week and was accused of playing a role in a scheme to steal money from the Four Winds Casino in Hartford on July 30, 2023, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten.

“The amount of money involved in this theft is extraordinary,” Totten said. “Unfortunately, instances of telephone scams at casinos are on the rise across the country, impacting both tribal and commercial gaming operations. Thanks to the dedicated, joint investigation of Pokagon Tribal police and the FBI, we were able to identify and arrest one of the perpetrators of this scheme that targeted the Hartford Four Winds Casino.”

The casino is operated by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, according to officials. Authorities issued a federal criminal complaint against Gaytan last week, and it was unsealed on Wednesday, per the report.

Gaytan has been charged with theft and embezzlement from a tribal organization. If he is found guilty of the charges, he could face up to five years in prison.

The employee who was tricked said that they collected $700,000 in cash, departed the casino, took it to a gas station in Gary, Indiana, and handed it over to two unknown individuals.

The Daily Mail reported that FBI agents and Pokagon Tribal Police eventually landed on Gaytan as a suspect and believed he was one of the men the money was given to by the casino employee. The complaint went on to say that Gaytan is "without legal authorization to be in the United States."

Last week, the authorities searched Gaytan's home in Chicago. A bundle of cash was discovered in a safe located in the basement, still wrapped in a paper band, stamped with "Hartford" and dated July 30, 2023.

“The arrest of Mr. Gaytan-Garcia demonstrates the effectiveness of collaboration between the Pokagon Tribal Police and the FBI,” Pokagon Tribal Police Chief Mario RedLegs said. “We greatly appreciate the support and assistance of U.S. Attorney Mark Totten and his staff to prosecute those that violate the law on Pokagon Band land.”

“The FBI, along with the Pokagon Band Tribal Police, successfully tracked down and identified the culprits involved in the fraudulent scheme against the Hartford Four Winds Casino. We take these crimes very seriously as they significantly impact the community's sense of trust,” Cheyvoryea Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan, said.

“The FBI is committed to investigating fraudulent activities and ensuring justice for all victims. We stand ready with our partners to take strong action against those who engage in such illegal activities and believe they can get away with it.”

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