Disney Cruise Ship Employee Sentenced to Prison
For Further Information, Contact: Assistant U.S. Attorney
Joseph J.M. Orabona (619)546-7951
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – March 13, 2018
SAN DIEGO – Renan Dias Da Rocha Gomes, a former employee aboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship, was sentenced today to 15 months in prison for wire fraud in connection with his scheme to embezzle more than $260,000 from The Walt Disney Company.
Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations arrested Gomes on October 27, 2017, when the Disney Wonder made port in San Diego, California. According to his plea agreement, Gomes admitted that from at least October 2015 through October 27, 2017, he was employed as a merchandise host and assigned to work in the merchandise stores aboard the Disney Wonder. He admitted he executed his scheme by fraudulently obtaining money through his access to an online payment system in order to embezzle funds from Disney for his own personal use and benefit.
As evidenced by his guilty plea, Gomes made approximately $260,000 in unauthorized charges to Disney’s bank account, and loaded the value of the funds onto Disney gift cards while working aboard the Disney Wonder on the high seas. During the search of Gomes’ cabin aboard the Disney Wonder, investigators found approximately 217 gift cards, a stolen watch, and $1,240 in cash.
Gomes also admitted that from April 23, 2017 through May 7, 2017, he spent approximately $37,700 of the embezzled funds for his own personal benefit by taking his family on a Disney World vacation. While on this vacation, Gomes stated that he used the gift cards with the embezzled funds to pay approximately $8,200 on lodging, approximately $29,500 on food, beverage, merchandise and entertainment expenses.
As part of the sentence today, the Court ordered Gomes to pay restitution to The Walt Disney Company in the total amount of funds he stole. In addition, the Court ordered Gomes to criminally forfeit the stolen watch and $1,240 in cash which were proceeds of his wire fraud.
In order to work aboard the Disney Wonder, Gomes, who is a Brazilian national, obtained a temporary visa. As a consequence of his criminal conviction, Gomes’ visa was cancelled and he will be removed from the United States to Brazil following the completion of his prison term.
“Today’s sentence should remind the public that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting consumers and enforcing the law against employees who embezzle funds from their employers for their own personal benefit,” said United States Attorney Adam L. Braverman. “The defendant in this case has been held accountable for his criminal conduct and for the way he cheated his employer.”
“The FBI is committed to identifying, investigating, and bringing those responsible for fraudulent criminal activity to justice,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge John A. Brown. “We want to encourage San Diego citizens and businesses alike to report suspicious or fraudulent activity to the FBI. It is this partnership between our community and law enforcement partners that allows us to better protect against these fraudulent actors.”
DEFENDANT Criminal Case No. 17CR3897-CAB
Renan Dias Da Rocha Gomes Age: 32 Citizenship: Brazil
SUMMARY OF CHARGES:
Count 1 – Wire Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343)
Maximum Penalties: maximum of 20 years in prison; maximum fine of $250,000; maximum term of supervised release of three years; restitution; criminal forfeiture
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Homeland Security Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement
U.S. Customs and Border Protection