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Former Thunder Valley HR Manager Sentenced For Embezzlement

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The former human resources manager at Thunder Valley Casino Resort was sentenced to federal prison on Thursday for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Indian gaming establishment.

U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. sentenced Erika Michele Carlton, 38, of Roseville, to 18 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for theft from an Indian tribal government, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. England also ordered her to pay $236,050 in restitution.

Carlton pleaded guilty in August to embezzling up to $400,000 from the casino.

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

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.

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

At sentencing, England noted that Carlton abused her position of trust with her employer and expressed concern over the length of time that her thefts had been ongoing, saying that “this crime went on for years … the amount of time it took to utilize the system that had to be involved [was significant].”

The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. Carlton was ordered to self-surrender by April 25, according to Department of Justice spokeswoman Lauren Horwood.

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