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New Jersey Man Earns Federal Prison Time After Stealing from North Dakota Tribal Casino

It’s never a good idea to steal, as the behavior usually catches up with you. That is exactly what happened to Mark A. Johnson of Atlantic County, New Jersey. This week, District Judge Charles Kornmann sentenced Johnson to a total of 41 months in prison after he pled guilty to Wire Fraud. After being released, Johnson must be supervised for three years. The conviction stems from a theft involving the Dakota Magic Casino in North Dakota.

The Theft

The reported theft occurred from March to July of 2014. At the time, Johnson approached the Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise (DNGE) and proposed a deal involving refurbished lawn equipment. The tribe would use the equipment to take care of its Dakota Magic Casino, which is located in North Dakota.

Johnson’s proposal was accepted, and a check was mailed by the casino to him for $149,600. The check was written out to Atlantic Power & Equipment, LLC, a company owned by Johnson. The check was cashed by Johnson and the money was used, but he never provided the casino with the equipment. He told the tribe that the equipment would be provided within four to six weeks after the order had been placed.

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The case was eventually taken over by the FBI and prosecuted by them. US Marshals apprehended Johnson and he was ordered to pay the full amount back to the casino in restitution.

It certainly is an odd situation that the casino found themselves in involving lawn equipment. However, it seems they just picked the wrong person to deal with. Reportedly, Johnson has been involved on other scenarios regarding stealing in the past.

Back in 2018, he was charged with stealing pension checks worth $22,000 from a police officer who was deceased. Johnson was living with the officer at the time and deposited the checks into his personal bank account.

Moving On

The Dakota Magic Casino will hopefully get their money back and in the meantime, will continue offering quality casino gaming services. The venue is located in North Dakota, but close to the border of South Dakota as well.

The casino offers a smaller gaming experience with only 700 slots. They also have table games including craps and blackjack. The resort portion of the property includes a hotel with 110 guest rooms as well as four restaurants.

The issue the Dakota casino faced is one of several odd occurrences regarding tribal casinos. Back in June, a man from Florida pled guilty to impersonating the musical act, the Village People. He promised the band would play at the Mill Casino in Oregon and took $12,500 as a booking fee. It was not until later on that the casino found out that the man did not have a connection to the music group.

For casino operators, especially tribal ones, more caution will most likely be taken now that such incidents have been made public knowledge. Ensuring delivery might be a good idea before money exchanges hands to avoid a similar sticky situation.

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