Others face charges in casino embezzlement case | NevadaAppeal.com

Others face charges in casino embezzlement case

by Maggie O'Neill

The 28-year-old wife of a Douglas County man in state prison for stealing gaming chips from Harveys Casino is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

Michelle Lawrence is charged with felony grand theft, the same offense that sent her husband, Jason Lawrence, 29, to prison for four to 10 years.

According to an affidavit, Michelle Lawrence told her husband as well as her brother, Stephen Johnson, 22, how much to steal and to begin stealing more because she wanted more money.

Michelle allegedly cashed about $189,000 in chips at Stateline casinos. Her husband was a pit manager at Harveys. Her brother, who had recently moved to Nevada from Oregon with his fiancee and worked with Lawrence at Harveys, is serving two to eight years in prison for grand theft.

On July 27, District Court Judge David Gamble allowed property belonging to the Lawrences, Johnson, Johnson’s fiancé, Melissa Watts, and Jason Lawrence’s friend, Glenn Bindley, to be seized to make restitution.

Harveys said nearly $1.6 million may have been taken from the casino.

Included in the order is an allowance for $44,344 in property belonging to Jason Lawrence to be taken toward restitution.

The order allows a $4,316 Lady Rolex 18k gold jubilee watch, a $6,050 President 18k gold Rolex watch with a diamond dial and bezel, a $13,448 50-inch Sony plasma television and $20,530 from 13 pieces of David Miller artwork, ranging in price from $795 to $3,200 to be used toward restitution.

Additionally, the casinos are seeking $10,000 that Lawrence invested Jan. 8, 2003, in a Carson City company called Kennel Kovers Ltd. The company incorporated weeks later. Plaintiffs are also seeking $19,750 from a Carson City bail bonds company that was paid with a 2002 Toyota Sequoia belonging to the Lawrences.

Watts and Bindley are facing prosecution in district court for involvement in the theft that occurred between December 2002 and June 2003. Watts, a 23-year-old Dayton woman, is charged with attempting to compound a crime. She reportedly redeemed about $115,000 in chips.

Bindley, 29, of Crystal Bay, allegedly redeemed $309,000 in chips and will be sentenced Aug. 24 for a felony forgery.

Lawrence reportedly worked for Bindley at a Ramada Inn in Topeka, Kan. According to court files, Lawrence’s ex-wife told investigators Bindley was Lawrence’s best friend and moved to Nevada to be close.

Kansas investigators are looking into $100,000 that Bindley supposedly invested in a computer business there.