Woman Who Planned And Executed Sophisticated Armored Car Heist In Las Vegas In 1993 Sentenced To Just Over Five Years In Prison
Las Vegas, Nev. – The woman who stole almost $3 million from a Loomis armored vehicle in Las Vegas in October 1993 and was a fugitive for 12 years, was sentenced today to 63 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $2,994,083.83 in restitution to the victims of the offense, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
HEATHER CATHERINE TALLCHIEF, age 33, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Philip Pro for her guilty pleas to one count of bank embezzlement, one count of credit union embezzlement, and one count of possession of a fraudulently obtained passport. In the guilty plea memorandum, TALLCHIEF admitted that on October 1, 1993, while she was working as a driver for the armored vehicle company, Loomis Armored, Inc., in Las Vegas, she embezzled the monies of the Bank of America and Nevada Federal Credit Union with the intent to defraud the financial institutions. TALLCHIEF admitted that at 8:15 a.m. on October 1, 1993, she was assigned to drive and guard a Loomis security vehicle, and that she dropped off two other security guards in the valet parking area of the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino so they could stock currency in ATM machines. TALLCHIEF was supposed to drive to the front of the casino and pick up her co-workers in order to continue their deliveries, but instead, she drove the vehicle containing nearly $3 million in U.S. currency to a garage where she met her co-schemer, Roberto Ignacio Solis, and concealed the vehicle. TALLCHIEF and Solis packed the money into containers for transportation, donned disguises, assumed fictitious identities, and fled the State of Nevada and later the United States to avoid arrest and prosecution. TALLCHIEF resided overseas under fictitious identities, including the name Donna Marie Eaton, until about September 15, 2005, when she surrendered to the United States Marshals Service in Las Vegas, Nevada.
TALLCHIEF also admitted that in February 1997, using false identification information and documents, she fraudulently obtained a United Kingdom passport in the name of Donna Marie Eaton from the United Kingdom Passport Agency. On September 12, 2005, TALLCHIEF fraudulently used the passport to enter the United States through the Los Angeles Port of Entry, and thereafter, traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, and turned herself in to authorities.
During the sentencing hearing, the defense presented the testimony of a psychiatrist who concluded that Solis brainwashed TALLCHIEF and overrode her everyday judgment. The prosecution introduced expert testimony explaining that the more likely motivation for the offense was greed and the desire to please her boyfriend, motives common to many offenders. A representative of Loomis urged the Court to impose the maximum sentence to punish TALLCHIEF and deter others from embezzling funds. Judge Pro refused to impose the minimal sentence urged by the defense, noting that the seriousness of the offense, sophisticated planning, and fugitive status merited the 63-month sentence.
Roberto Ignacio Solis was also charged with the offense. He remains a fugitive.
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Margaret Stanish.