New Jersey man sentenced to 41 months in prison for stealing from North Dakota tribal casino

New Jersey man sentenced to 41 months in prison for stealing from North Dakota tribal casino

A 60-year-old man from New Jersey has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for stealing thousands of dollars from a tribal casino in North Dakota. District Judge Charles Kornmann pronounced the prison term for Mark A. Johnson, a resident of Mays Landing in Atlantic County of New Jersey, after he pleaded guilty to Wire Fraud. According to prosecutors, the theft took place in the months of March and July of 2014. During those months, Johnson promised to provide the Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise (DNGE) with revamped lawn equipment for the tribe’s North Dakota-based Dakota Magic Casino.

Johnson’s proposal was accepted by the tribe, and the casino operator mailed him a check for $149,600. The checked that was payable to Johnson’s company called Atlantic Power & Equipment LLC was soon cashed by him and he used the money but never fulfilled his promise to provide the tribal casino with revamped lawn equipment.

The tribal gambling & entertainment property spans roughly 300 acres, and features nearly 700 slot machines, blackjack as well as craps tables. The resort complex has a 110 hotel rooms, 4 restaurants, spacious convention hall, and a golf course.

Dakota Magic Casino filed a complaint that Johnson neither provided it with any lawn equipment nor did return the money. While signing the deal with the tribal casino, Johnson had promised to deliver the lawn equipment within a period of four to six weeks after receiving money. As the casino is being operated by the federally-recognized tribe on its reserved land, the case was filed in a federal court and it was prosecuted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Johnson was taken into custody by the US Marshals Service.

After hearing the two sides, Judge Kornmann ordered Johnson to return $149,600 in restitution to the tribal casino, in addition to awarding him nearly three and a half years in federal prison. After completing the prison term, Johnson will undergo supervised release for at least three years.

It is not the first time for Johnson to be caught for pinching someone else’s money. In 2018, he was charged by New Jersey prosecutors for stealing $22,000 in pension checks that were signed for a deceased law enforcement officer. Living in home of that officer at the time, Johnson deposited the money into his own account.