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Las Vegas Casino Scammer Sentenced to Year in Jail

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A man who allegedly collaborated with a prominent criminal organization to defraud Las Vegas casinos will spend time behind bars. However, Erik Gutierrez Martinez can consider himself lucky, as his sentence is significantly lighter than what he could have received.

A Slap on the Wrist

Clark County District Judge Jasmin Lilly-Spells delivered her ruling on Monday, imposing a one-year sentence in the Clark County Detention Center upon 24-year-old Martinez. However, Lilly-Spells also gave him a suspended sentence for a period ranging from 36 to 96 months. Consequently, should he infringe upon the terms of his probation once released from prison, he will be required to serve the previously suspended term.

Related: Vegas Trio Face Lengthy Prison Terms in $10M Prize-Notification Scam

Martinez confessed to stealing over $100,000 last month, resulting in his recent conviction. However, he said that he had been coerced into it, led by an organized criminal organization who convinced him he could make easy money. The police have not corroborated his claims.

Prior to this, Martinez had been accused of two separate charges. In order to reach a compromise, he agreed to a prison sentence ranging from one to ten years.

Records unveiled during the trial showed accusations concerning thefts occurring at Circa, the Eureka Casino Resort in Mesquite and the Golden Nugget in Laughlin. Moreover, these allegations were investigated by federal agencies, including the US Secret Service.

Martinez was never officially accused in the Laughlin casino incident. In light of a plea agreement, he copped to the Circa crime and was able to avoid prosecution for the others.

A Repeat Offender

According to official records, on March 2, an individual from Mexico had called the Eureka casino cage, discussing a voided payment to the company. Subsequently, the same person contacted an employee, instructing them to locate a company check hidden in an office.

The individual couldn't find the check, which had only been a ruse, and the person on the call instructed the employee to retrieve $250,000 in cash from the casino and deliver it to someone in Las Vegas. Court records indicate that on Monday, Martinez's lawyer, John Turco, claimed that his client promptly handed back the money to the Eureka employee upon returning to collect it.

In court records, police documented a similar incident at Circa on June 17, where they were called to address a scam of a similar nature. According to investigators, an individual claiming to be the hotel owner contacted the casino, asking for money to cover emergency expenses for firefighters. The person responsible for hotel security informed the authorities about this deceptive act, but not before over $1.17 million had been removed from the property.

The cage attendant was interrogated by the police regarding a phone call he received from an individual falsely impersonating the hotel owner. As per the report, this individual falsely stated that there was a need for firefighters to inspect the extinguishers and expressed a desire to cover the costs of further safety precautions.

Surveillance footage was able to identify the vehicle used in the Circa theft, which investigators traced to Martinez's aunt. Martinez was then apprehended by the authorities at the gym on June 18. Upon further investigation, law enforcement discovered almost $850,000 at his residence, money that was allegedly part of the stolen funds.

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