A recent incident in Las Vegas has exposed a cunning scam involving an individual pretending to be the owner of the popular Circa Hotel & Casino. This imposter, identified as Erik Gutierrez, managed to swindle over $1.1 million from an unsuspecting cashier’s cage employee by persuading them to make payments for fire extinguishers and other fire prevention equipment.
According to reports from Las Vegas TV station KLAS, Gutierrez, who is 23 years old, was charged earlier this month with theft of more than $100,000. The scam unfolded on June 17 when a phone call was made to the Circa’s cashier’s cage, with the caller claiming to be the owner. However, it was later discovered that this person was an impostor.
Scammer Requested Immediate Payment
Initially, the scammer requested an immediate payment of $320,000 from a cage supervisor, who believed the caller to be the hotel’s owner and fell for the deception. During the conversation, the imposter informed the supervisor that the fire department needed to inspect the fire extinguishers and requested payment for additional safety devices.
To facilitate the payments, the supervisor met someone at various off-site locations, believing this individual to be an attorney for the hotel. Over time, payments totalling $1,170,000 were made, including amounts of $314,000, $350,000, $500,000, and several smaller transactions. Fortunately, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) investigated the case, tracing a car used in the scheme back to Gutierrez’s aunt.
Majority of Money Recovered
On June 18, law enforcement officers apprehended Gutierrez at a gym. Remarkably, approximately $850,000 of the stolen money was recovered. The cash, bundled together with the name Circa written on it, was found in a large bag filled with U.S. currency. However, around $314,000 remains missing.
Gutierrez recently appeared before Las Vegas Judge Amy Ferreira, who set his bail at $25,000. Should he make bail, the judge ordered him to stay away from Circa and the Fremont Street Experience. Additionally, it was reported that Gutierrez has a similar charge pending in the Mesquite, Nev. Justice Court, with bail, set at $20,000. Further details about that investigation were not immediately available.
Derek Stevens, the CEO of Circa, expressed his disappointment over the incident, stating, “Although I love a good PR story, this isn’t one of them.” Stevens affirmed that Circa Resort & Casino was cooperating with the LVMPD’s ongoing investigation and commended their efforts thus far. Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, no further comments could be made at this time.
This shocking incident serves as a reminder of the importance of vigilance and verifying identities, even in seemingly trustworthy situations. The authorities are actively working to ensure justice is served, and Circa is doing its part to assist in the investigation.