Feds say couple stole $2.5 million from casino nightclubs

The controller and chief financial officer for an entertainment group that owns and operates restaurants and nightclubs at Foxwoods Resort Casino has been charged, along with her husband, with embezzling more than $2.5 million from the company.

The government alleges that Lynn A. Scheufler, 34, and Craig L. Galligan, 40, used $1.4 million in embezzled funds to gamble at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. They were arrested Wednesday at their Woodstock home, according to U.S. Attorney David B. Fein. They later were presented in federal court in Hartford and released on bond.

Scheufler was the controller and CFO of Big Night Entertainment Group of Boston, which operates three venues at Foxwoods: Shrine Asian Kitchen Lounge and Nightclub, Scorpion Bar, and High Rollers Luxury Lanes and Lounge.

She is charged with wire fraud and illegally structuring financial transactions. As CFO, she was responsible for all aspects of the company's finances, including using cash proceeds from the business that had been placed into nightly deposit bags to fill ATM machines in the company's venues.

She is accused of taking cash out of the deposit bags and making unauthorized withdrawals using the company's ATM cards. She concealed the thefts by misstating or altering the company's books and records, according to the government.

Galligan, who worked as a financial analyst for another company, is charged with illegally structuring financial transactions. According to the government, the couple deposited more than $700,000 in cash into their personal bank accounts. They made the deposits in increments smaller than $10,000 so as to avoid triggering bank reporting requirements.

The Big Night Entertainment Group issued the following written statement through its public relations firm:

"We are deeply disappointed by this incident, and are working hand in hand with both the Internal Revenue Service and United States Attorney's Office as they uncover all the facts surrounding this elaborate scheme. Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation we are unable to provide further comment at this time."

According to court documents, the company retained an independent forensic accountant after the thefts were discovered to help reconstruct the company's books and records for the relevant time period. They also hired a new chief financial officer from outside the company.

Scheufler and Galligan are entitled to have the charges presented to a grand jury. If indicted, they also are entitled to a jury trial. Wire fraud carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. Structuring financial transactions carries a maximum prison term of five years.

k.florin@theday.com

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