Woman must pay back $675,000 in casino theft | NevadaAppeal.com

Woman must pay back $675,000 in casino theft

by Maggie O'Neill

MINDEN – A Gardnerville Ranchos woman accused of stealing thousands of dollars of gaming chips was ordered to pay $675,000 in restitution to Harvey’s Lake Tahoe after the casino won a civil suit in Douglas County District Court.

Patricia Diaz, 47, must repay Harvey’s for the money she obtained by allegedly palming chips while she worked as a dealer in the high stakes area.

The former 24-year employee of Harvey’s admitted stealing the money, pleading guilty to a count of grand theft. Diaz faces up to 10 years in prison when she is sentenced May 25.

“She can get probation but it’s up to the judge,” said Kristine Brown, Douglas County chief criminal deputy district attorney.

Brown will review Diaz’ pre-sentencing report before making a sentencing recommendation to Ninth Judicial District Court Judge David Gamble.

Diaz was arrested April 30, 2003, after casino managers noticed a young woman cashing about $2,500 in chips about once a week. The woman was Diaz’ daughter. According to a cage supervisor at Caesars Tahoe, the woman cashed Harvey’s chips there for about a year.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board interviewed Diaz who said she did not know how her daughter got the chips and must have a gambling problem, according to the court file. According to court documents, security tapes show Diaz placing her hand over chips and then moving her hand to her left pants pocket in a move likely intended to put the chip there. This is called “palming” chips.

Diaz made her bail, set at $1,500 at the time of her arrest, on May 1.

Maggie O’Neill can be reached at mo’neill@recordcourier.com or (775) 782-5121, ext. 214.