Disney cruise ship worker gets prison for embezzling $260K
SAN DIEGO — A Brazilian national who pleaded guilty to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Walt Disney Co. while working aboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship was sentenced Tuesday to 15 months in prison.
Renan Dias Da Rocha Gomes, 32, admitted to making about $260,000 worth of unauthorized charges to a company bank account and loading the value of the funds onto Disney gift cards while employed as a merchandise host on the vessel over a two-year period that ended with his arrest in San Diego last October.
During a search of Gomes’ cabin aboard the Disney Wonder, investigators found more than 200 gift cards, a stolen watch and $1,240 in cash, court documents state.
According to his plea agreement, Gomes executed the scheme by fraudulently obtaining money through his access to an online payment system. He also admitted that he spent roughly $37,700 of the stolen funds by taking his family on a Disney World vacation last spring.
While on the trip, Gomes used the misappropriated gift cards to pay about $8,200 on lodging and $29,500 for food, drinks, merchandise and entertainment, prosecutors said.
As part of his sentence, Gomes will have to pay restitution to the Walt Disney Co. in the total amount of the funds he stole and forfeit the stolen timepiece. Additionally, as a consequence of the wire fraud conviction, Gomes’ visa was canceled, meaning that he will be deported upon completion of his prison term.
The sentence demonstrates that the federal government “is committed to protecting consumers and enforcing the law against employees who embezzle funds from their employers for their own personal benefit,” according to U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman.
“The defendant in this case has been held accountable for his criminal conduct and for the way he cheated his employer,” Braverman said.