Sacto 9-1-1
February 7, 2013
Former Thunder Valley employee sentenced for embezzlement

A former employee of the Thunder Valley Resort and Casino has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for theft from an Indian tribal government.

U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. also ordered Erika Michele Carlton, 38, of Roseville to pay $236,050 in restitution, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. She will be subject to three years of supervised release following her prison term.

According to court documents and admissions in court, Carlton was a human resources manager at Thunder Valley Resort and Casino in Lincoln, which is owned by the United Auburn Indian Community, a federally recognized Indian tribe. Between Nov. 12, 2006, and March 9, 2011, Carlton embezzled and stole up to $236,050 in money and property.

Carlton had access to Thunder Valley credit cards and other sources of funds that she could use to buy items for the casino's employees. She used Thunder Valley funds, for instance, to buy raffle prizes that were given out at employee functions such as Christmas parties. These prizes included gift cards from local merchants, electronics such as televisions, iPods, PlayStations, DVD players and other consumer goods.

Along with these authorized purchases, Carlton bought store merchandise and gift cards using Thunder Valley money for her own purposes. According to court documents, Carlton either kept the items that she bought for herself or returned them to the store for cash or merchandise credit for her own use.

The case resulted from an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service and the Placer County Sheriff's Department.

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