8 facing theft, embezzlement charges ...

8 facing theft, embezzlement charges over Hopland casino slot machines

There are 105 comments on the The Ukiah Daily Journal story from Aug 24, 2010, titled 8 facing theft, embezzlement charges over Hopland casino slot machines. In it, The Ukiah Daily Journal reports that:

Eight people face embezzlement and grand theft charges after allegedly participating over the last three years in a scheme to rig slot machines at the Sho-Ka-Wah Casino in Hopland, according to authorities.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Ukiah Daily Journal.

Brijit Aleman

Santa Rosa, CA

#23 Aug 26, 2010
Debra Antone wrote:
Hello!! This was happening since Sandy Sigala was in office. Why isn't she being investigated. It's about time all of this was brought to the surface. Many of the tribal members are suffering from this, especially the elders.
YOU STAND CORRECTED! BE ADVISED....IF YOU'RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO DATES....THIS IS THE BEVERLY RODRIGUEZ AND WANDA BALDERAMA ERA!

HELLO!!!!! GET OVER IT AND FACE REALITY! NOTHING GOOD HAS COME OF THAT CASINO SINCE SANDRA SIGALA STEPPED DOWN!!!!

I wonder why people there are now BEGGING for her to return??? Must be because she knew HOW TO BUILD A BUSINESS!
Brijit Aleman

Santa Rosa, CA

#24 Aug 26, 2010
Tribal Member wrote:
Yeah it has to do with poor management! I myself believe Tracy Anderson (Marketing Manager) and Doyle Smotherman (Slots Manager) need to be fired!! They are incompetent and are collecting a paycheck for nothing! They DO NOT generate any revenue for our Casino and will continue not to...what benefit do they bring to the table.
Not all Casino are like this, there are many tribes that provide for they're members. Have staff that qualify for positions they are applying for, not like Shokawah's HR Manager Donetta who is a joke to Human Resources who only hires her own relatives!
AMEN TO YOU!!!! AGREE 100%! Need professional, experienced managment to make the business run! But that would take a professional and experienced manager to make that decision! Sad to say, but not in the near future for Hopland! I believe it would be cheaper to close the doors to the casino and rebuild!
Obvious

Novato, CA

#25 Aug 26, 2010
Hopland casino is the next Elem. Close the place before it gets to that point.
norcal121

Ukiah, CA

#26 Aug 26, 2010
Actually to pull off this scam a player is not even technically needed. Not all players have cards, it has nothing to do with free play. That is a different scam all together.. lol
This one takes the individuals required to authorize a jackpot at the machine. They use their cards, similar to the players card but they are employee cards, slot tech, key person, shift manager blah blah blah.. Ok example, lets say the oasis system is down, you can manually enter a jackpot into the system via the cards, so lets say you want to scam, the employees involved go to the machine, best of you have a player involved with the scam, or u can fake it... But you enter the techs card, enter jackpot code and amount, then since it looks like an error because there is not really a jackpot the shift manager, JONI would come over and enter her card and authorizations and then send the info to the cage. The jackpot paperwork would print out, you grab the in-cahoots players ID and Social card and go to the cage for a normal pay out. The machine never needed a jackpot and bam free money. Now if restrictions were in place and Surveillance needed to verify machine visuals for a jackpot and so on and so forth blah blah blah this shouldn't happen, don't mean it can't because Surveillance can be just as involved..
And the Commissioners do make decent money, not as much as the upper managers of the Casino though, because Gaming Commish is paid by the tribe, managers are paid by casino funds, different entities..
Brijit Aleman

Santa Rosa, CA

#27 Aug 26, 2010
Norcal121 wrote:
Gaming lesson 101.. I can tell you I bet the machines were not rigged. First no one at Shokawah has the knowledge to try an rig the slot programming. I am pretty sure, I mean almost 10000% positive they manipulated jackpot payouts via the Oasis system, not actually by having jackpots on the machines. Simple jackpot over ride procedures and you print jackpot paperwork and pay the persons or your self if you create a fake player. There technically doesn't even have to been play or a player at the machine to do.. This is what happens when the management are lazy and the Gaming Commish are stupid and they let lame policies and procedures be in place and the Surveillance staff wasn't paying attention to their oasis computer and watching handpays and such...
Who would like to debate that lol
NORCAL - YEP!!! YOU'RE RIGHT! BEEN THERE AND KNOW THE STUPID P&P THAT CASINO GOES BY! WE KNEW THIS WOULD EVENTUALLY HAPPEN, RIGHT! AND WHY WERE WE SO ON IT AND NO ONE WANTED TO HEAR IT???
Bad Thoughts

Ukiah, CA

#28 Aug 26, 2010
MY THOUGHTS 1 wrote:
I NEVER GO, I PAY WITH MY TAXES TO HELP THESE POOR PEOPLE BUILD THE CASINOS SO THEY CAN SCALP US AGAIN!
That is about as stupid a statement that I have seen on this forum, and there have been a lot of stupid statements printed here.

Scalp us again? Ignorance.....
Mark muthafuckin Ray

Mill Valley, CA

#29 Aug 26, 2010
That wasn't going on when Joe San Diego was the gaming commish down there!
Brian Wilson

Santa Rosa, CA

#30 Aug 26, 2010
Good thing the Network Manager didn't delete safeguards which tracked override transactions; or the transactions themselves. Full and open accountability is required for checks and balances to work properly. Violations face Federal prosecution.

What ever happened to High Stakes Bingo that our Rancheria's used to have?

Why is it that some rancherias have per capita, and some gaming tribes don't?

Where does all the money go? At Ione, casino profits are used to buy up surrounding land to expand the area of the rancheria (after having it put into Federal Trust).
Teresa

Santa Rosa, CA

#31 Aug 26, 2010
Wow, I can't believe the ugly racist comments. There are bad seeds everywhere. How about bringing up the Enron scandal and all the other PEOPLE who have embezzeled from companies, banks etc.
EMPLOYEES plain and simple, BAD employees
The comment on TYPICAL INDIAN BEHAVIOR, by REALLY and the way of the buffalo. GET SOMETHING STRAIGHT who butchered buffalo just for the skins and let the rest go to waste not Native Americans they did not waste what they needed to survive. Tell me what is typical indian behavior? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Some bad employees do not speak for a whole nation this is bad management and criminal behavior which apply to all peoples. Lets just hope they can get in and change procedure and staff so this cannot happen again. And by the way TO REALLY, I HAVE A BLANKET FOR YOU ........
Debra Antone

Fresno, CA

#32 Aug 26, 2010
Brijit Aleman wrote:
<quoted text>
YOU STAND CORRECTED! BE ADVISED....IF YOU'RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO DATES....THIS IS THE BEVERLY RODRIGUEZ AND WANDA BALDERAMA ERA!
HELLO!!!!! GET OVER IT AND FACE REALITY! NOTHING GOOD HAS COME OF THAT CASINO SINCE SANDRA SIGALA STEPPED DOWN!!!!
I wonder why people there are now BEGGING for her to return??? Must be because she knew HOW TO BUILD A BUSINESS!
Excues daughter of the main thief here forementioned, your mother has no shame in what she has done to my Mother's tribe. It's a wonder why I took my name off this place. Not all casinos are run the way Hopland is run. Thank god!!! Plus your mother's name is not on the original distribution list. You and your clan only wanted to be Indians when there was money involved. The Hopland Band of Pomo Indians is nothing but a dictatorship
Tribal Member

Fresno, CA

#33 Aug 26, 2010
WILLITS WOMAN wrote:
ALL casinos are rigged! The house is rigged to win 99 out of 100 times. I don't play their games unless I'm playing with their money. There'r not getting any of my hard earned money. Why do you think they did what they did, to get some their money back. HA HA The jokes on them, now they will do double duty.
Not all Casino's are like that only in Hickville USA does things like this happen. Your comment is so ignorant.
Tribal Member

Fresno, CA

#34 Aug 26, 2010
Brijit Aleman wrote:
<quoted text>
YOU STAND CORRECTED! BE ADVISED....IF YOU'RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO DATES....THIS IS THE BEVERLY RODRIGUEZ AND WANDA BALDERAMA ERA!
HELLO!!!!! GET OVER IT AND FACE REALITY! NOTHING GOOD HAS COME OF THAT CASINO SINCE SANDRA SIGALA STEPPED DOWN!!!!
I wonder why people there are now BEGGING for her to return??? Must be because she knew HOW TO BUILD A BUSINESS!
When Sandra Sigala stepped down from council the drought came. They all had they're hands dipped in the pot and now nothing to show for. If she was such a good business person, why did her gift shop in Cloverdale go down the drain???? All Sandy did was violate tribal members civil rights when she did not like what was said at the meetings.
DCR

United States

#35 Aug 26, 2010
MY THOUGHTS 1 wrote:
I NEVER GO, I PAY WITH MY TAXES TO HELP THESE POOR PEOPLE BUILD THE CASINOS SO THEY CAN SCALP US AGAIN!
JUst returning the favor for years of cruelty!!!
HBPI-TM

United States

#36 Aug 26, 2010
Another tribal member wrote:
This is what happens when you put uneducated, unqualaified people in high positions. Im sorry to say it, but shokawah is a joke, and so is the gaming commission, obviously! This puts shame to the people who fought congress to have this casino!!
This is true very uneducated people in this casino and tribal Office.. its all about hiring family and illiterate ones at that..Look at the ones in there now the chairman can't MAN up enough to actually be the chairman, he's a puppet for his mother...What a joke...
norcal121

Ukiah, CA

#37 Aug 26, 2010
Two things, actually the Casino had it's highest revenues when Sandra Sigala was in charge of the Tribe, but it was actually the General Management and his team at that moment plus a better economy that really made those things happen. Wanda Balderama is terrible, she used to have her daughter sign checks as her father to cash some sort of checks, I remember it clearly on camera, she would pull up, her daughter would sit there in the gift shop and sign some checks in some dudes name. We were told to not do anything about it..
Two, if you don't know anything about casinos, native ones to be precise and how they operate and how they are regulated then you are best to just keep quite, they are over regulated by the state, DOJ and the feds. No other single business is regulated with that much scrutiny, not to mention they pay far more taxes than any other privately owned business.
This scam that was happening was just a simple lack of controls, it had nothing to do with race, origin, tribal family name or any of that crap. The gaming commission, Dan most likely just pushed policies and procedures through from the slots manager because they were typed good, regardless of the lack of protection of the casino and it's assets. I am surprised that guy and Ruth are still in that building, together they equal maybe one brain... MAYBE!!!!
Brijit

United States

#38 Aug 26, 2010
Debra Antone wrote:
<quoted text>Excues daughter of the main thief here forementioned, your mother has no shame in what she has done to my Mother's tribe. It's a wonder why I took my name off this place. Not all casinos are run the way Hopland is run. Thank god!!! Plus your mother's name is not on the original distribution list. You and your clan only wanted to be Indians when there was money involved. The Hopland Band of Pomo Indians is nothing but a dictatorship
LMAO...how old are you and still at it with retaliation, hatred and jealousy??! Sad you haven't changed...the past is the past - like before you were born! Get on....let your mother and father's past stop eating your life away!
Wishing you lots of good health....being at peace with honesty is bliss!
Brijit

United States

#39 Aug 26, 2010
norcal121 wrote:
Two things, actually the Casino had it's highest revenues when Sandra Sigala was in charge of the Tribe, but it was actually the General Management and his team at that moment plus a better economy that really made those things happen. Wanda Balderama is terrible, she used to have her daughter sign checks as her father to cash some sort of checks, I remember it clearly on camera, she would pull up, her daughter would sit there in the gift shop and sign some checks in some dudes name. We were told to not do anything about it..
Two, if you don't know anything about casinos, native ones to be precise and how they operate and how they are regulated then you are best to just keep quite, they are over regulated by the state, DOJ and the feds. No other single business is regulated with that much scrutiny, not to mention they pay far more taxes than any other privately owned business.
This scam that was happening was just a simple lack of controls, it had nothing to do with race, origin, tribal family name or any of that crap. The gaming commission, Dan most likely just pushed policies and procedures through from the slots manager because they were typed good, regardless of the lack of protection of the casino and it's assets. I am surprised that guy and Ruth are still in that building, together they equal maybe one brain... MAYBE!!!!
We can go on and on about all the WRONG that was done in that casino. It's all been documented over the years....but of course nothing was or has ever changed to avoid holes in the policies.

It's simply disgusting to know how ignorant outsiders (those who have NO concept of how the CASINO runs and operates on a business level) are to the entire reality of why this embezzlement occurred! You can explain until you're blue in the face and they will BELIEVE and BLAME it on certain management and tribal members that were involved before the Casino was even built!

Just plain ignorance....put them in charge! I'm sure they'll make the tribe THRIVE! Get in there and do something good to prove yourself...then you'll have a reason to run your mouth! Get rid of all the people YOU BELIEVE should be off the ROLL and show the world what you need to prove! After you do what YOU think is the RIGHT thing - THEN WHAT? The Tribe will be thriving????

I challenge you on that one! Actions speak louder than words-get to WORK!!!
Brijit

United States

#40 Aug 26, 2010
Tribal Member wrote:
<quoted text>
When Sandra Sigala stepped down from council the drought came. They all had they're hands dipped in the pot and now nothing to show for. If she was such a good business person, why did her gift shop in Cloverdale go down the drain???? All Sandy did was violate tribal members civil rights when she did not like what was said at the meetings.
"Her gift shop" - get your people straight. Know who you're talking about before you post! You're talking about the wrong person.
norcal121

Ukiah, CA

#41 Aug 27, 2010
Been a long time Brijit lol..
But you are right, we can explain it, draw diagrams, hell I can teach a class on cheats and scams and people would still blame tribal members they disagree with, certain families and so on and so forth, because they are ignorant. That's like a white employee stealing from a gas station and the general populous going off because the owners are from the middle east and they caused the thefts lol.....
Well we know how it works and that is all that matters...
Java 707

Hayward, CA

#42 Aug 27, 2010
Teresa wrote:
Wow, I can't believe the ugly racist comments. There are bad seeds everywhere. How about bringing up the Enron scandal and all the other PEOPLE who have embezzeled from companies, banks etc.
EMPLOYEES plain and simple, BAD employees
The comment on TYPICAL INDIAN BEHAVIOR, by REALLY and the way of the buffalo. GET SOMETHING STRAIGHT who butchered buffalo just for the skins and let the rest go to waste not Native Americans they did not waste what they needed to survive. Tell me what is typical indian behavior? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Some bad employees do not speak for a whole nation this is bad management and criminal behavior which apply to all peoples. Lets just hope they can get in and change procedure and staff so this cannot happen again. And by the way TO REALLY, I HAVE A BLANKET FOR YOU ........
Yyyaaayy!!! Your Comments were the most Logical, Reasonable, Intelligent and Thoughtful that have been Posted in this Forum yet!!:-)

Absolutely true about the "Bad Employees" -- they exist EVERYWHERE, in EVERY line of Work, from EVERY Nationality, etc....

Obviously "Greed" played a HUGE part in this Scam. And when somebody's Greedy enough, they'll look for any loophole they can, and chances are they don't care too much about the consequences, either... Ssssoooo disappointing!!:-(

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