Former Pearl River Resort Employee Convicted for Stealing Cash

Every casino across the United States has rules of operation. Each venue must adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the state as well as via the operator. Employees have specific training for their position, including how to catch potential cheaters in the act or how to watch out for certain scams. Casinos are heavily secured, as they have surveillance cameras and security personnel watching at all times. However, instances of criminal activity can still occur. Recently, a former employee of the Pearl River Resort in Mississippi was sentenced to jail time after it was found he stole thousands from his employer.

Jail Time Issued

Darren Nickey is a 31-year-old male who used to work at the Pearl River Resort—Silver Star Casino. Just last week, he was sentenced to three years in prison for stealing from his former employer. United States District Judge Henry T. Wingate was presiding and decided to give him the three years, plus an additional three years of supervised release.

Nickey was charged with theft of a gaming establishment on Indian lands while employed. Of course, this is a big no-no and the employee has to pay his dues. Along with jail time, Nickey has been ordered by the court to pay $18,340 in restitution.

From March to May in 2016, Nickey was able to take cash from the casino. He used cash recyclers in the venue to take money in increments of more than $1,000 at a time. Nickey was employed at a retail store located inside the casino. He had access to the money drawer as well as the cash recycler.

He would use the recycler to take the funds and used log-in passwords of co-workers to hide the cash he had taken. After the casino investigated the crimes fully, it was determined that Nickey had taken $18,340 during 40 different incidents.

The indictment of the former employee took place in December 2018. It took until 2019 for a guilty plea to be given by the accused and then it was this year that sentencing occurred.

During the sentencing, acting US Attorney Darren J. LaMarca said that federal law places severe penalties for crimes that take place in a licensed gaming business. Because there is a greater potential for misconduct to take place, the setting calls for vigilance and self-discipline of those who are trusted with the operations of the casino.

Mr. LaMarca went on to praise the Choctaw Police Department for their hard work in investigating this case.

Protecting the Casino

Employees are trusted individuals in a casino setting as they are required to handle large amounts of cash as well as personal information of guests. While casinos vet every employee, it is impossible to avoid such instances as what took place with Nickey in Mississippi. Thankfully, such instances occur at random and are not a common occurrence.

To try and avoid such issues, casinos have certain protocols in place. Money is counted as well as chips to ensure that everything is where it should be. Oftentimes, discrepancies in the counting process are what lead to catching such individuals as Nickey who try to scam the casino by taking a little off the top at random intervals.

This won’t be the last incident to take place at a casino. While people will try to scam operators time and time again, enough protocols are in place to ensure prosecution in the long run.

Conor Stack
Conor Stack

Conor is one of our main writers on USGS focusing on a wide range of industry coverage across sports, casino and poker.