U.S. Attorney’s Office news release
POCATELLO—John R. Mejia, 32, of Rigby, Idaho, was sentenced today in federal court for theft of funds from the Fort Hall casino, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill sentenced Mejia to 12 months plus one day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $177,611. He pleaded guilty to the charge on January 11, 2012.
According to court documents, Mejia was indicted in July 2011 on one count of theft from the Shoshone-Bannock Fort Hall Casino, where he was employed in 2010 as a gaming technician. At the plea hearing, Mejia admitted that he took money from the casino by creating duplicate vouchers from gaming machines and redeeming the vouchers for money.
In sentencing Mejia, Judge Winmill commented that Mejia’s crime was not just a crime against the casino, but a crime committed against a nation of 5,000 people.
“Mr. Mejia’s theft of tribal funds demonstrates a disregard of the authority and trust placed in him by the Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Gaming Commission,” said Olson. “By putting his personal desires first and choosing to commit this crime, Mejia also abused the public’s trust. I commend the cooperative work of Fort Hall Tribal Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
The case was investigated by the Fort Hall Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Lois M. Collins, Deseret News