One stop spree: Embezzle, gamble and lose, all at the same casino

When the controller of some restaurants and clubs at Foxwoods Resort Casino allegedly stole some $2.5 million in cash deposits, apparently some of the money casino gamblers had spent at the clubs made a circuitous route back to the gaming floor.

The controller and her husband proceeded to lose $1.4 to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun at the same time the cash deposits went missing, according to federal authorities who secured a grand jury indictment in the case late last year.

The controller, Lynn A. Scheuffler, 34, was the chief financial officer of the Boston-based company that runs the Shrine nightclub at Foxwoods, as well as the Scorpion Bar and High Rollers Lounge.

She and her husband, Craig H. Galligan, 41, were charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and illegally structuring financial transactions in a case pending in federal court in Hartford.

Unlike other cases in which casino employees caught embezzling have also been found to be gamblers, Scheuffler and Galligan are accused of stealing from a tenant business at Foxwoods, not the casino itself. Still, it seems a little incestuous.

According to an IRS agent's affidavit, which has been unsealed by the court, the bulk of the money Scheuffler allegedly embezzled came from bags of cash that the businesses she supervised bundled up at the end of the night shift.

The controller would open the bags and remove money she was meant to stock ATMs with, according to the affidavit. But much more was discovered missing from the bags than got placed in the ATMs, a forensic audit later uncovered.

Meanwhile, during the same period, from January 2010 to March 2012, the investigating IRS agent said, Scheuffler and her husband began making frequent deposits of large amounts of cash in their bank account.

The deposits were made regularly in amounts just under $10,000, apparently in an attempt to avoid mandatory regulatory reporting requirements for large transactions, the agent said.

The company, at the same time, also apparently began to wise up.

Last January, one of the principals sent a probing email to Scheufler.

"What was our net profits on 2011 for (one of the Foxwoods venues)? Why do you think we have a zero balance right now?" the company principal asked the chief financial officer.

The principal of the company may not have known then, but may have suspected, that some of the company's money was powering slot machines and being pushed across gaming tables at both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.

Of course this is just one of the large federal cases developed on the Mashantucket reservation and now pending in federal court. The other is against the Thomas brothers, Steven Thomas, the tribal council treasurer, and Michael Thomas, the former council chairman. They are accused of stealing more than $800,000 from the tribe.

It is interesting that all the big cases from casino country are being brought lately by the feds.

Maybe if Gov. Dannel Malloy stopped focusing on withdrawing state police from the casinos he could take a lesson from federal authorities, who seem to know that crime follows the money.

This is the opinion of David Collins.

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