A former manager at a popular Las Vegas hotel got a bit greedy, and it has landed him in jail.
How a former Aria manager stole over $770K
Brandon Johnson, a former manager at Las Vegas’ Aria Resort & Casino, has been arrested for stealing more than $770K from the resort over the course of roughly a year. He has been charged with 13 counts related to theft, including two for at least $100K. He’s now being held at Clark County Detention Center on $100K bail.
The property caught onto Johnson’s behavior in July 2023, when MGM Resorts’ financial crimes unit reached out to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, regarding an employee who was conducting fraudulent refunds.
Long story short, a single Chase debit card number was entered into the reservations system hundreds of times, to issue refunds from previous guest stays. An audit determined that over the course of a year, roughly $776K was stolen using this method, across 209 refunds. He ramped this up significantly, starting with two fraudulent refunds per month in July 2022, all the way up to 37 fraudulent refunds per month in July 2023.
It’s not entirely clear to me whether he was somehow refunding stays that guests had completed with the authority he had, or if he was trying to redirect legitimate refunds to his card.
Johnson had a long career at MGM, as he worked there starting in 2007. He then left his role, but was rehired in 2013, and most recently had the position of operations manager.
How the employee got caught for his actions
You’d think that a single credit card being used for dozens of refunds would have triggered something in the property’s system, though ironically that’s not what actually started the investigation.
Rather, in July 2023, another Aria manager noticed that Johnson was suddenly buying a new home, luxury vacations on private jets, and expensive dinners. The manager asked Johnson about this, and he claimed that he had become a chef for rich clients as a side hustle. The manager had never heard of Johnson mentioning he was a chef, so became suspicious.
This caused the manager to look into Johnson’s work transactions, which raised a red flag. Johnson had completed several refunds in the reservations system, which is when the company launched an internal investigation.
When the police got involved and were able to subpoena his bank records, they determined that he was spending a lot of money at stores like Louis Vuitton and Versace, and was making bank transfers between accounts, for amounts of up to $160K.
Johnson quit his job during the investigation, and voluntarily surrendered to the police on September 1. However, he declined all police interview requests.
A former manager at Las Vegas’ Aria Resort & Casino has been arrested for sending over 200 fraudulent refunds to his debit card, totaling over $770K. He engaged in this scheme for roughly a year, and was only caught when a manager noticed his lifestyle suddenly got more extravagant, which caused an internal investigation to take place.
My gosh, it’s amazing how greedy people get sometimes, because of course it was going to end this way. It’s one thing to do this once or twice (which is bad enough), but to do this hundreds of times is of course going to get caught.
What do you make of this Las Vegas hotel story?