facebook app symbol  twitter  instagram 1

Mobile Ad Container

After a months-long investigation by the FBI and a Michigan tribe’s police force, a 43-year old man from Mexico has been charged with theft from the Four Winds Casino, which is owned and operated by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.

Jesus Gaytan-Garcia, a Mexican citizen with no prior criminal record, was arrested and charged with theft from an Indian tribal organization, according to information provided by to Tribal Business News by U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten. Gaytan-Garcia did not have legal authorization to be in the United States, according to a criminal complaint filed in a district court in Michigan's Van Buren County. 

Never miss the biggest stories and breaking news about the tribal economy. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every Monday morning.

The complaint alleges that on July 30, 2023, a call came into the Hartford, Mich. location of the Four Winds Casino. The caller falsely claimed that he was the tribal chairperson and needed funds to make an urgent payment. A casino supervisory employee, apparently duped by the caller’s fraudulent claims, gathered up $700,000 in cash and walked out of the casino. At the direction of the caller, the employee transported the cash to a gas station in Gary, Indiana, where the employee then handed the cash over two unknown individuals.

After a lengthy investigation, the FBI and Pokagon Tribal Police were able to identify Gaytan-Garcia as one of the individuals the casino employee met at the gas station and gave the $700,000 cash bundle. Investigators later conducted a search of Gaytan-Garcia’s home, where they located a bundle of cash still wrapped in a paper band which was stamped with the word “Hartford” — the location of the victimized casino — and the exact date of the theft, July 30, 2023.

“The amount of money involved in this theft is extraordinary,” Totten said in a statement. “Unfortunately, instances of telephone scams at casinos are on the rise across the country, impacting both tribal and commercial gaming operations.” 

Totten praised the Pokagon Tribal Police and the FBI for the joint investigation, which identified and led to the arrest of one of the perpetrators of the scheme that targeted the Hartford Four Winds Casino.

“The arrest of Mr. Gaytan-Garcia demonstrates the effectiveness of collaboration between the Pokagon Tribal Police and the FBI,” Pokagon Tribal Police Chief Mario RedLegs said in a statement. “We greatly appreciate the support and assistance of U.S. Attorney Mark Totten and his staff to prosecute those that violate the law on Pokagon Band land.”

“We take these crimes very seriously as they significantly impact the community's sense of trust,” Cheyvoryea Gibson, special agent in charge of the FBI in Michigan said in a statement. “The FBI is committed to investigating fraudulent activities and ensuring justice for all victims. We stand ready with our partners to take strong action against those who engage in such illegal activities and believe they can get away with it.”

The charge against Gaytan-Garcia in a criminal complaint is merely an accusation, a news release from the Department of Justice states, adding that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

Tell Us What You Think