Portsmouth Judge Expresses Discontent with Prosecutor in Rivers Casino Case

Last updated on: November 2, 2023, 10:10h.

Portsmouth Circuit Court Judge Douglas Ottinger expresses frustration with state prosecutors in their handling of embezzlement case against two plaintiffs accused of stealing money from Rivers Casino.

Rivers Casino Portsmouth Virginia
A former count room employee and a current worker at Rivers Casino Portsmouth are accused of stealing cash from the Virginia casino. Marcus Baker, 36, and Joshua Thompson, 29, each face an embezzlement charge. (Image: 13 News Now)

Rivers Casino Portsmouth, the first licensed permanent casino in the commonwealth, discovers embezzlement scheme allegedly involving two newly hired employees.

Employees Marcus Baker, 36, and Joshua Thompson, 29, are caught stealing money from Rivers Portsmouth. They are accused of embezzling cash from the casino’s count room.

Authorities believe Baker and Thompson stole nearly $14,000 in cash from the casino.

Charges were filed against the two defendants in July. They each face a felony count for embezzlement of funds exceeding $1,000.

Frustrated Judge

During a preliminary hearing, Judge Douglas Ottinger expresses his frustration with state prosecutor Lynette Hill for the lack of progress in assembling witnesses for the case.

Ottinger received a letter from a witness stating their fear of testifying and claiming that their calls to Hill went unanswered.

Ottinger questions Hill’s preparedness and asks if they have investigators. “Who would blame her? You have to do better than this,” says Ottinger.

Hill, responding on behalf of the Portsmouth Commonwealth Attorney Stephanie Morales’ office, states that multiple attempts were made to contact the witness, but were unsuccessful.

Case Postponed

Judge Ottinger grants Portsmouth prosecutors two months to gather witnesses for the case. The next preliminary hearing is scheduled for January 5, 2024.

Baker and Thompson were released on their own recognizances.

Rivers Casino Portsmouth has generated approximately $183.7 million in revenue from gamblers this year. The casino offers 1,461 slot machines, 81 table games, and a BetRivers Sportsbook.


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