The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has issued an urgent warning to all licensees over the casino cage scam that saw a conman leave Circa Casino with over $1.1m.
Last month, police in Nevada arrested Erik Gutierrez, 23, after he swindled Circa Hotel & Casino out of $1.1m cash pretending to be the resort’s owner, Derek Stevens.
The scam saw Gutierrez con cage employees into providing emergency cash payments of $320k needed to pay the fire department by phoning up pretending to be Stevens – a con that Gutierrez is reported to have played four times on the casino.
Consequently, casino staff acquiesced and met with Gutierrez off-site, delivering the cash to a man that they believed to be their boss.
The conman is believed to have played a similar trick at Eureka Casino Resort Mesquite and Golden Nugget Casino in Laughlin, leading the NGCB to take control of the situation and ensure all licensed operators are acutely aware of being targetted by Gutierrez.
“Criminal subjects use social engineering tactics to pose as casino executives,” a letter from the NGCB read. “The subjects direct cage employees to withdraw cash from the casino cage and take the funds offsite for emergency payments on behalf of the casino.
“The imposters often pose as high-level executives and will contact a cage employee via a PBX call. 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.”
While police obtained a warrant for Gutierrez and found over $850k of the funds, authorities have so far been unable to recover the remaining $320k. Police have arrested the conman, but the Gaming Control Board is eager to avoid a repeat situation.
The regulator noted that all licensees should remain vigilant when subjects claim for cash under extreme circumstances. It also warned of advanced tech such as AI which “may increase the effectiveness of this type of fraudulent activity.
“The NGCB highly encourages all casino licensees to review all casino and cage security protocols that authorize the removal of cage funds from the licensed premises. This particular scam continues to evolve, and investigators have noted a shift in tactics to target gaming pits and other areas of the casino.
“Therefore, education on the trending fraud is recommended for all cage cashiers, supervisors, managers, surveillance, security, and gaming pit personnel.”