Circa Hotel & Casino conman pleads guilty to $1.1m grift

Circa casino
Image: Shutterstock / Kit Leong

A man who pretended to be Circa Hotel & Casino owner Derek Stevens to con the establishment out of $1.1m has pleaded guilty to his charges. 

Erik Gutierrez, 24, has pleaded guilty to his charges of theft when he appeared before Clark County District Court Judge Jasmin Lilly-Spells. Judge Lilly-Spells told Gutierrez he could face up to a decade behind bars. 

In June, Gutierrez allegedly 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, on four separate occasions, met with Gutierrez at locations away from Circa delivering more than $1.1m in payments to the man she believed owned the casino.

It later emerged that Gutirrez had tried a similar plot at both Eureka Casino Resort in Mesquite and the Golden Nugget in Laughlin, however, he has pleaded not guilty to a charge related to Eureka and was not charged for the Golden Nugget incident. 

He was arrested after police searched his home and found $850,000 of the funds. His bail was then set at $25,000.

After a guilty plea, Gutierrez will remain in custody until his sentencing which will take place on October 30. 

Derek Stevens stated on the incident: “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.”