A Four Winds Hartford Casino employee, who had access to millions in cash for years, has allegedly embezzled $700,000. She is being held on $1 million bond in Van Buren County Jail.
The money is nowhere to be found.
Danika Nicole Young, age 38, has worked at Four Winds Casino in Hartford Township since 2007, according to court testimony.
Employee allegedly delivered stolen money to unknown person
On July 30, Young allegedly counted out $700,000 in her capacity as supervisor of the cash cage at the Four Winds Casino, placed the money in a bag, and left the facility. According to her testimony, Young took the money to Gary, Ind., where she gave it to an unidentified person. She claims she received a phone call to do so. Young was later apprehended in Gary and returned to Michigan.
The cash cage in a casino is a secure area where cash from that day’s activities is held and counted, or dispensed when money is needed for customers. The cash cage area is off limits to unauthorized personnel, and in most casinos, personal items like phones and bags may not be brought into the cage, which usually is guarded by security, cameras, sophisticated locks, and other methods.
A busy casino can accumulate hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in one evening.
Four Winds employee could face up to 20 years in prison
Embezzlement of $100,000 or more in Michigan carries a possible penalty of 20 years in prison, as well as fines. According to reporting by WOOD TV, Young has no criminal record. She asked 7th District Court Judge Arthur H. Clarke III for a personal recognizance bond, which would have allowed Young to be free on her own accord. According to court records, Young has family in the Van Buren area, as well as at least one child. But, Clarke denied that request, citing concerns that she may flee.
Court hearings are scheduled in Van Buren County for Aug. 9 and Aug. 16 on the matter.
Four Winds Casino Hartford is located between Battle Creek and Benton Harbor in the southwest region of Michigan. It is owned and operated by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. That tribal nation also owns two other casinos in Michigan: Four Winds New Buffalo; and Four Winds Dowagiac; as well as one in South Bend, Ind.