Four Defendants Plead Guilty to Conspiring to Commit Theft, Credit Card Fraud at Various Northern Minnesota Casinos
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 11, 2014|
MINNEAPOLIS—Today in federal court, four defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit theft from various gambling establishments on the Leech Lake and Bois Forte Indian Reservations. Elias Rodriguez, age 30, Bronx, New York; Geetha Leena, age 28, Las Vegas, Nevada; Agustine Henry Gueits, age 28, New York, New York; and Anuedi Rivera-Bido, age 29, Bronx, New York, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of aggravated identity theft. The defendants, who were indicted on January 21, 2014, entered their plea before United States District Judge Donovan W. Frank.
In their plea agreement, the four defendants admitted that from September 6, 2013 through September 7, 2013, they conspired with others to commit theft from various tribal gaming establishments, by obtaining cash advances using counterfeit credit cards, in excess of $35,000. The suspects targeted the Fortune Bay Casino (Bois Forte), White Oak Casino (Leech Lake), Northern Lights Casino (Leech Lake), and the Palace Casino (Leech Lake).
Law enforcement was notified by casino employees of Leech Lake Gaming in the early morning hours of September 7, 2013. Investigation led to the apprehension of the group at the Palace Casino in Cass Lake, Minnesota, on the same day. The group was initially held in the custody of the Cass County Sheriff until transferred to federal custody.
On March 17, 2014, Anthony Rodriguez, age 26, Bronx, New York, a co-conspirator, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of aggravated identity theft. Two additional co-conspirators were included in the indictment, Lisa Monique Cruz, age 38, New York, New York, and Katina Meropi Stamat, age 33, Tampa, Florida. Katina Stamat remains at large.
The defendants face a potential maximum penalty of five years in federal prison for conspiracy and a mandatory minimum of two years in federal prison for aggravated identity theft, as well as possible fines and forfeitures. Judge Frank will determine their sentences at future hearings, yet to be scheduled.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Leech Lake Tribal Police Department, the Leech Lake Gaming Regulatory Board Investigations Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, the Pike Bay Police Department, the Minnesota Casino Intelligence Unit, and the Bois Forte Tribal Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Deidre Y. Aanstad.