Archive for Casino

Former Harrah’s Employee Convicted of Embezzlement

Keith Alan Franklin, 27, of Waynesville was sentenced to more than two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to embezzling more than $400,000 from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino while he was an employee. He must also pay $475,000 in restitution to the casino.

In a sentencing hearing Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Asheville, Franklin was sentenced to 27 months in prison. Franklin pleaded guilty to theft by an employee of gaming establishments on Indian lands.

Franklin was ordered to serve three years of supervised release after he leaves prison.

According to court records, Franklin embezzled money from Harrah’s from October 2013 to April 2014. Franklin was employed at Harrah’s and had direct access to the casino’s funds during this period, according to court documents.

Franklin was fired in April 2014 and pleaded guilty in October 2014 to the embezzlement charge.

Franklin is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

The U.S. Secret service handled the investigation, assisted by the Cherokee police.

Cherokee Proposes Casino Dividend Check Garnish for Inmates

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is proposing a plan to garnish casino dividend funds of tribal members that are incarcerated. The plan was introduced by Council Representatives Tunney Crowe and Terry Shell earlier in the month. The idea was brought about to reduce or eliminate fees paid by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to other counties for housing inmates from the reservation. Many inmates from the reservation are, at this time housed in the Swain County Jail in Bryson City and Cherokee has to pay a daily fee to Swain County for each inmate each day. The amount of the dividend garnish for each inmate is yet to be determined. Each Tribal member gets a share of casino profits, usually equaling about $8000 a year pre taxes. The tribe does currently garnish per-capita money for child support, resulting in Cherokee having the highest rate of child support collection in the state. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians still have several steps before the proposal would become a law, the tribe is still working on construction of a 75 bed jail on the reservation, which will in turn be a part of a much larger Justice Center. The tribal attorney also has to draft a sample legislation that will need to be passed by the Tribal Council and then signed by the Chief.