News and Press Releases

Former Casino Employee and Wife Sentenced to Probation
for Scheme to Embezzle Money From Casino

Couple Also Ordered to Pay $72,830.43
in Restitution to Santa Ana Star Casino

January 7, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE – John Hoffman, 43, of Rio Rancho, N.M., was sentenced this morning to two years of probation for his felony conviction for embezzling money belonging to an Indian gaming establishment.  His wife and accomplice, Michelle Fischer, 43, also received a two-year probationary sentence for her misdemeanor conviction for stealing from an Indian gaming establishment.  The Hoffmans jointly were ordered to pay $74,830.43 in restitution to the Santa Ana Star Casino, the victim of their criminal conduct.

Hoffman pled guilty in March 2013 to a felony information charging him with embezzling money belonging to the Santa Ana Star Casino, which is operated by Santa Ana Pueblo.  At the time, Hoffman was employed in the Marketing Department of the Santa Ana Star Casino.  Hoffman admitted that, from Dec. 2010 to Aug. 2011, he abused his position at the Santa Ana Star Casino by gaining access to active and inactive “Player’s Club” cards and adding money and credits to the cards without proper basis or authority.  Hoffman also admitted giving the cards to Fischer knowing that she intended to distribute the cards to others who would use the cards to gamble and who would give Hoffman and Fischer a percentage of their winnings.

Also in March 2013, Fischer pled guilty to a misdemeanor information charging her with theft of money belonging to the Santa Ana Star Casino.  In entering her guilty plea, Fischer admitted obtaining “Player’s Club” cards to which she was not entitled from a casino employee, and giving the cards to others who used the cards to gamble with the understanding that she would receive a percentage of the winnings.  Fischer also admitted that she also used some of the cards to gamble knowing that she was not entitled to do so and for the purpose of obtaining a financial benefit.

This case was investigated by the Santa Ana Tribal Police Department and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle T. Nayback.

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