A crime both small and big businesses are victims of: embezzlement
A former slot-machine floor employee at Silver Slipper Casino is in double trouble.
Geavoni Reese, 28, faces trial on felony charges of embezzlement and violating the state Gaming Control Act.
Silver Slipper also has filed a civil lawsuit against Reese in Hancock County Circuit Court, accusing her of fraud and unjust enrichment. The casino wants Reese to pay back the money she allegedly took and also is asking for unspecified punitive damages.
Silver Slipper accuses Reese in the civil lawsuit of taking at least $36,000 from January-October 2017 through 81 false transactions.
Instead of fixing slot machines that locked up or malfunctioned, she created false jackpots on the machines and took the money, the lawsuit says.
“Silver Slipper takes theft seriously, which is why we are cooperating fully with the government’s investigation and have filed a concurrent civil action against those we believe are responsible for perpetrating this fraud,” said John Lassiter of Jackson, the casino’s attorney on the civil case.
But Reese says she didn’t keep the money. Her attorney, Jim Davis of Gulfport, indicates in the civil case that a male employee masterminded the scheme to defraud the casino.
The employee enlisted more than one co-worker, including Reese, to falsify jackpots and steal the payouts, the complaint she filed against the male worker says. She wants compensation and punitive damages from the male employee, who also worked slot machines on the casino floor.
“He is the party that received any funds that were made or received by anyone in connection with this claim,” her complaint says. “If any conversion is taking place, he is the connector.”
The Sun Herald is not naming the male employee because, according to the district attorney’s office, Reese is the only employee so far charged in the case.
The Silver Slipper caught Reese after a customer turned her in, the casino’s lawsuit says, prompting a review of surveillance footage after she finished her last shift. The footage confirmed the tip, the lawsuit says. Reese was fired the next day, in October 2017.
“Reese was able to perpetrate her scheme to defraud Silver Slipper because she was a trusted employee with an intimate knowledge of the facility’s slot and loss prevention policies and procedures,” Silver Slipper’s lawsuit says.
The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office arrested Reese, who was living in Waveland at the time. The sheriff’s office turned over the investigation to the Mississippi Gaming Commission.
Reese was indicted in April 2018 for embezzling more than $18,306. Silver Slipper subsequently filed the civil lawsuit.