Man posing as Derek Stevens cons Circa out of $1M in cash

Circa Casino exterior
Image: Shutterstock / Time-Space Pixels

Circa Casino owner and CEO Derek Stevens has developed a larger-than-life public persona and is one of the more public-facing casino owners in Las Vegas. However, it appears his own employees are not too familiar with who he actually is. Local news outlet 8 News Now first broke the news on Monday.

Earlier this month, 23-year-old Erik Gutierrez claimed to be Circa’s owner when he reached out and contacted the Circa casino cage seeking $320,000 for what he claimed was an emergency payment to the fire department. The cage supervisor acquiesced and, on four separate occasions, met with Gutierrez at locations away from Circa delivering more than $1.1 million in payments to the man she believed owned the casino.

The supervisor also believed that she had communicated with Circa’s attorney and was communicating via text with a superior in her department.

“Although I love a good PR story, this isn’t one of them,” Stevens said in a statement. “Circa Resort & Casino is cooperating with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in this investigation. We greatly appreciate their efforts to date and cannot comment further due to an ongoing investigation.”

When police obtained a warrant for Gutierrez and searched his home, they were able to recover around $850,000 of the funds. No other people have been charged in relation to the con job. Police are unsure of where the remaining $320,000 has gone.

A local judge set bail of $25,000 for Guitierrez and warned him not to go near the property again if he is released.