Gun Lake Casino Employee Admits to Stealing More Than $84,000

Gun Lake Casino Employee Admits to Stealing More Than $84,000

A former employee of Gun Lake Casino in Michigan has confessed to embezzling more than $84,000 from the casino.

Jordan Lewis Cook was indicted by a jury in the Western District of Michigan in March 2023, and in late August, he agreed to a plea deal on the theft charges. Last week, Friday, September 8, that deal was signed off by U.S. Judge Ray Kent.

In the plea, Cook admitted using his position as a machine attendant at the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Potawatomi Indians-owned casino to pocket the cash. The thefts took place during routine maintenance operations over the course of a year.

“Specifically, Defendant admits that he stole various denominations of currency from Gun Lake Casino ‘cash out machines’ on at least 32 separate occasions between September 2021 and November 2022,” the plea agreement said.

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Cleaning out the Jams

Cook was employed as a floor machine attendant at the Gun Lake Casino. His primary responsibility was to address malfunctioning machines, specifically the self-service ticket-in, ticket-out (TITO) kiosks and cash redemption terminals. When these machines experienced clogs, Cook was the one to fix them. However, he exploited this role to his advantage.

During the process of clearing out jams in the cash-out machine, Cook would open the machine, remove the cassettes holding currency, and then clear out the jammed or misfed currency. Before closing the machine door, Cook would then steal a portion of the cash.

This illicit activity was not a one-time event. Cook admitted to stealing from the casino’s machines on at least 32 separate occasions.

After being indicted by a federal grand jury in the Western District of Michigan on charges related to embezzlement and theft from an “Indian Tribal Organization,” Cook posted his $10,000 bail before eventually deciding to plead guilty.

The plea deal mandates Cook to make full restitution of the stolen money to the Gun Lake Casino. The crime also comes with a hefty fine and a potential five-year prison sentence.

Gun Lake Casino’s Growth

Located about 20 miles south of Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second-largest city, Gun Lake Casino one the larger Michigan brick and mortar casino venues.

It features more than 2,500 slot machines, close to 50 table games, and a sportsbook, which collectively bought in more than $213 million in 2022.

The Gun Lake Casino, which commenced operations in early 2011, has seen substantial growth during its decade-plus history.

In 2021, the casino underwent a significant expansion costing $100 million. This growth trajectory continued into 2022 when the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Potawatomi Indians initiated another expansion phase with a budget of $300 million.

This ambitious project includes the addition of a 252-room hotel, a sprawling 32,000-square-foot indoor pool complex, a spa, and new dining and entertainment venues.

Just last week, Gun Lake Casino hit local headlines handing out its largest progressive jackpot slot win since opening. A West Michigan resident, who gave his name only as John, hit $727,280 on an Ultimate Fire Link Explosion slot machine on Thursday night.

The timing of its biggest jackpot win will have been all the more interesting to the casino, as it coincided, almost to the day, with the finalization of the guilty plea of its former employee in this theft case.

Cook’s sentencing hearing has not yet been arranged. He now owes Gun Lake Casino the stolen $84,000 as well as a potential fine of up to $250,000.

Author: Paul Campbell