MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Eight Miami-Dade County residents could face 20-year prison sentences each after pleading guilty to computer fraud and an embezzlement scheme to steal millions from Miccosukee Resort & Gaming.
Federal authorities say four of the defendants, Michel Aleu, Lester Lavin, Yohander Jorrin Melhen, and Leonardo Betancourt, were all former employees and licensees of Miccosukee Gaming.
They pled guilty and were convicted of conspiracy to steal funds from Miccosukee Gaming, conspiracy to commit computer fraud, and money laundering conspiracy.
Their respective wives, Maria Del Pilar, Anisleydi Vergel Hermida, and Milagros Marile Acosta Torres, pled guilty and stand convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering offenses.
Here is how federal officials say the scheme operated:
The male defendants worked in the video game department at the Miccosukee Casino. They tampered with the computers in electronic gaming machines, causing those machines to generate false and fraudulent credit vouchers or tickets.
The men enlisted other conspirators to exchange the vouchers for cash at ATMs located on the casino floor, at floor cashiers, or the casino treasury.
Casino records indicate that the defendants and their co-conspirators stole approximately $5.2 million in cash from Miccosukee Gaming.
Federal officials say the defendants used the stolen money to purchase and maintain residences and investment properties, purchase vehicles, vessels, and Florida Prepaid College Plans for their children, and to pay for travel and household expenses.
Each defendant, now awaiting sentencing, faces a maximum term of 20 years’ imprisonment for money laundering conspiracy.
Feds also say Michel Aleu, Lavin, Jorrin Melhen, and Betancourt face five years on their convictions for conspiracy to steal.