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Theft suspect who posed as casino owner admits to swindling over $1M

Updated September 20, 2023 - 7:07 pm

A man accused of posing as one of the owners of Circa and swindling the casino out of more than $1 million pleaded guilty to theft this week, while Clark County’s top prosecutor said Tuesday that others could be charged in the case.

Erik Gutierrez Martinez, 23, deceived an employee on June 17 into believing she was delivering bags of cash to two men at four different locations on behalf of one of the hotel’s owners, according to an arrest report from the Metropolitan Police Department.

Gutierrez Martinez called the cashier’s cage pretending to be owner Greg Stevens and ordered a supervisor to pay the fire department hundreds of thousands in cash.

Circa, which is owned by Derek and Greg Stevens, reported $1.7 million in losses after Gutierrez Martinez convinced the cashier to drop three more bags of money off at a Circle K, an AutoZone and an IHOP. When Gutierrez Martinez was arrested, police found a large bag with just under $850,000 bundled together, with “Circa” written on it.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said the money was returned to Circa.

“There may be others that become implicated, but we are very satisfied that Mr. Gutierrez Martinez is pleading guilty straight up to a solid felony,” Wolfson said.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board said Gutierrez Martinez also attempted to steal $250,000 from Eureka Casino Resort in Mesquite and an unknown amount from the Golden Nugget in Laughlin. A cashier at Eureka got a call on March 2 from a person claiming to be a representative of the company that supplies hand sanitizer to the casino.

The man told the cashier to visit a 7-Eleven and a Circle K in Las Vegas to drop money off, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board investigators.

Gutierrez Martinez is represented by John Turco, who wrote in a message Tuesday that his client is “not the mastermind behind this situation.”

He is being held on $25,000 bail and is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 30. He faces one to 10 years in prison, but Turco said he could receive probation.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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