Regulator of US Virgin Islands Casino Sentenced for Embezzlement

Published: December 12, 2023, 04:49h.
Last updated on: December 12, 2023, 04:49h.

A worker of the US Virgin Islands Casino Commission has been sentenced to 44 months in prison for embezzling commission funds while advising on responsible gambling.

Stephanie Barnes, US Virgin Islands Casino Commission
Stephanie Barnes, center, heading into a St Croix courtroom in December 2001. Later that month, a jury unanimously found her guilty of theft and tax evasion. (Image: The Virgin Islands Consortium)

In 2015, Stephanie Barnes was hired as a contractor by commission president Violet Anne Golden and both were found to have spent commission funds extravagantly.

Profligate Spending

Charges include chartering a private plane to exclusive festivals, costly VIP passes, extravagant hotel stays, expensive meals, and indulging in various entertainment.

The US Virgin Islands casino market is small, with just two licensed casinos: Divi Carina Bay Resort & Casino and Casino at Hotel Caravelle, both on St. Croix.

Barnes’ and Goldens’ infractions were uncovered in 2018 following an investigation by the Virgin Island’s Inspector General, and the findings were referred to the FBI. They were indicted July 11, 2019, and arrested a week later.

Barnes was sentenced to 44 months in prison for various infractions, including conspiracy to commit theft from programs receiving federal funds and tax evasion. She was also ordered to pay restitution and serve three years of supervised release.

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