News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California

Former Thunder Valley Employee Sentenced for Embezzlement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 07, 2013
 

Docket #: 2:12-CR-00231 MCE

 

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — United States District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. sentenced Erika Michele Carlton, 38, of Roseville, to 18 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for theft from an Indian tribal government, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. Judge England also ordered her to pay $236,050 in restitution.

This case was the product of an investigation by the United States Secret Service and the Placer County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon prosecuted the case.

According to court documents and admissions made in court, Carlton was a human resources manager at Thunder Valley Resort and Casino in Rocklin. Thunder Valley is owned by the United Auburn Indian Community, a federally recognized Indian tribe. Between November 12, 2006 and March 9, 2011, Carlton embezzled and stole up to at least $236,050 in money and property from Thunder Valley. Carlton had access to Thunder Valley credit cards and other sources of funds that she could use to buy items for the casino’s employees. For instance, Carlton would use Thunder Valley funds to buy raffle prizes that were given out at employee functions such as Christmas parties. These prizes included gift cards from local merchants, electronics such as televisions, iPods, PlayStations and DVD players, and other consumer goods.

Along with these authorized purchases, Carlton also bought store merchandise and gift cards using Thunder Valley money for her own use. According to court documents, Carlton either kept the items that she purchased for herself or returned the items to the store for cash or merchandise credit for her own use.

At sentencing, Judge England noted that Carlton abused her position of trust with her employer. “[Carlton’s theft was] close to a half million dollars from those who obviously trusted her,” said Judge England.  Judge England also expressed concern over the length of time that her theft had been ongoing, saying that “this crime went on for years … the amount of time it took to utilize the system that had to be involved [was significant].”

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