Disney Wonder Crew Arrested For Wire Fraud

Disney Wonder Crew Arrested For Wire Fraud
Disney Wonder Crew Arrested For Wire Fraud

Renan Dias Da Rocha Gomes, 32,  a crew member from Brazil who worked aboard Disney Cruise Lines cruise ship Disney Wonder was arrested on charges of wire fraud on allegations for embezzling over a quarter million dollars. Renan Dias Da Rocha Gomes was arrested on Friday, October 27, when FBI agents boarded the cruise ship Disney Wonder, which had just docked in San Diego, California. (court documents on file)

Renan Dias Da Rocha Gomes is being prosecuted by Joseph J.M. Orabona in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. Joseph J.M. Orabona is most recently known for his prosecution of Former IRS agent-turned-tax preparer Steven Martinez who was sentenced April 15, 2013 by US District Court Judge William Q. Hayes to almost twenty-four years in prison for defrauding clients of more than $11 million and then plotting their murders to prevent them from testifying about the theft.

Gomes is represented by the Law Office of Kris J. Kraus in San Diego, California.

The federal complaint alleges, “Beginning upon the high seas, and elsewhere out of the jurisdiction of any particular State or district, from in or about October 2015 until October 27, 2017,
defendant REN AN DIAS DA ROCHA GOMES did knowingly devise and intend to devise, with the intent to defraud, a material scheme and artifice to defraud and to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, and omissions of materials facts, and in furtherance thereof transmitted and caused to be transmitted by means of wire and radio communication in interstate and foreign commerce, certain writings, signs, signals, pictures and sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme and artifice to defraud,
including a transmission from the VeriFone payment system aboard the Disney Wonder while on the high seas on or about October 25, 2017; all in violation of Title18, United States Code Section 1343.

According to investigators with Disney, RENAN DIAS DA ROCHA GOMES (“GOMES”) executed a scheme to defraud Disney while employed aboard the cruise ship named the Disney Wonder (“Disney Wonder”). In or about October 2015 and continuing up to and including October 27, 2017, GOMES was employed as a merchandise host and assigned to work in the merchandise stores aboard the Disney Wonder. GOMES executed a scheme to defraud Disney by fraudulently obtaining money by means of false and fraudulent pretenses and concealment of material facts, using his access to the VeriFone payment system in order to embezzle funds from Disney for his own personal benefit for which he was not otherwise entitled.

As part of his scheme to defraud Disney, GOMES executed approximately $275,000 in unauthorized charges to Disney’s bank account, and loaded the value of the funds onto Disney gift cards while working in the merchandise stores aboard the Disney Wonder. On at least one occasion, GOMES used a means of identification of another person to conceal the fact that GOMES accessed the VeriFone payment system to defraud Disney. From April 23, 2017 through May 7, 2017, GOMES spent approximately $35,000 of the embezzled funds for his own personal benefit by taking his family on a Disney World vacation. While on this vacation, GOMES used the gift cards with the embezzled funds on lodging, food, beverage, merchandise, and entertainment. GOMES spent approximately $8, 700 on lodging. GOMES also spent approximately $26,400 on food, beverage, merchandise, and entertainment.

On or about October 25, 2017, GOMES while upon the high seas, and elsewhere out of the jurisdiction of any particular State or district, for the purpose of executing and attempting to execute the above-described scheme, knowingly caused to be transmitted by means of wire and radio communication in interstate and foreign commerce certain wntmgs. signs. signals, pictures. and sounds. to wit: a wire transmission from the VeriFone payment system located on the Disney Wonder to Disney”s bank account located in the United States related to the unauthorized charge of approximately S 1,000, which GOMES then loaded onto a Disney gift card for his own personal use and benefit. and for which he was not entitled. On October 27. 2017. FBI agents met the Disney Wonder as it made port in San Diego. California. FBI agents boarded the ship and met with GOMES in the captain’s conference room.

At that time, FBI agents advised GOMES of his Miranda rights in the English-language. GOMES stated that he understood English and his rights and was willing to answer questions without an attorney present. GOMES admitted to fraudulently uploading funds on to gift cards using the VeriFone payment system saying that he realized it was easy to divert these Disney funds for his own personal use and benefit. GOMES further admitted that he began by embezzling approximately $40. and realized that nothing happened to him. He immediately thereafter began loading the limit amount of $1,000 onto multiple gift cards while working on the ship. GOMES admitted that he had been executing his scheme for approximately three years. and that he first began defrauding Disney working in the merchandise store while aboard the Disney Wonder out at sea. GOMES also admitted that he spent a substantial amount of the embezzled funds to take his family on a lavish vacation to Disney World in 2017. GOMES admitted that he knew that he was not authorized or entitled to any of the funds he stole from Disney·s bank account which he loaded on to the gift cards. GOMES was arrested and transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in San Diego. California.”

At the hearing on November 1, 2017, the “Defendant knowingly and voluntarily waived his right, on the record and in the presence of counsel, to the setting of bail and a detention hearing. Based on that waiver, the Court orders that the Defendant be detained pending trial, and if convicted, sentencing in these matters, without prejudice or waiver of the Defendant’s right to later apply for bail and conditions of release, and without prejudice or a waiver of the right of the United States to seek detention in the event of an application by the Defendant for such relief.

On November 1, 2017 the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed an “Information” court document which stated, “As the result of committing wire fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343 as alleged in Count 1 of this Information, Defendant shall forfeit to the United States pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, Section 981(a) (1) (C), and Title 28, United States Code, Section 2461, all property, real and personal, that constitutes or is derived from proceeds traceable to the commission of the offense alleged in Count 1 of this Information, including but not limited to: (a) cash in the amount of $1,240.00; and (b) all gift cards seized from Defendant at the time of his arrest containing a total stored value in an amount less than the amount of proceeds realized from the criminal activity. If any of the above described forfeitable property, as a result of any act or omission of Defendant: (a) cannot be located upon the exercise of due diligence; (b) has been transferred or sold to, or deposited with, a third person; (c) has been placed beyond the jurisdiction of the Court; or (d) has been commingled with other property which cannot be subdivided without difficulty; then it is the intent of the United States, pursuant to Title 21, United States Code, Section (p) , to seek forfeiture of any other property of said defendant up to the value of the above forfeitable property. All pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, Sections 981 (a) (1) (c). ” and Title 28, United States Code, Section 2461.

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