Rivers Casino Portsmouth Workers’ Embezzlement Trial Moves Forward

Written By Phil West on January 9, 2024 - Last Updated on January 12, 2024
Man in handcuffs with cash on a story about two Rivers Casino Portsmouth employees accused of stealing $14,000 from the casino.

The trial phase of an embezzlement case involving two former Rivers Casino Portsmouth employees – and a missing sum of nearly $14,000 – has begun.

Marcus Baker and Joshoua Thompson are facing felony embezzlement charges stemming from an incident last July captured on surveillance video.

The two are allegedly seen stealing money from a cashbox. If convicted, Baker and Thompson each face up to 20 years in prison.

Video allegedly shows money being stolen from casino

Currently, there are only three casinos operating in the state: Rivers Casino Portsmouth is the only fully operational casino. The other two are operating out of temporary facilities. A fourth casino is expected to open later this year or early next year in Norfolk. Virginia online casinos remain illegal.

According to 13 News WVEC, the surveillance video, “which was played inside the courtroom Friday (Jan. 5), shows Thompson moving cash boxes out of the casino’s count room, while holding a key needed to unlock those boxes. A separate casino worker, who also testified Friday, later saw a man, eventually identified by video to be Baker, ‘stuffing bills’ into a black object before leaving the building and going to his car.”

WVEC also noted that nearly $14,000 was missing.

“Witness testimony from casino staff revealed one of the cash boxes handled during this incident is allegedly missing $13,670, which casino staff still can’t account for.”

Judge calls out prosecutors in the case

The process of prosecuting the pair has been far from routine, however. A WAVY story from November said the judge was frustrated with the prosecution’s pace in trying the case. At that point in the proceedings, leading to the scheduling of this most recent hearing, the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office hadn’t yet procured the security video or talked to key witnesses.

According to WAVY, Judge Douglas Ottinger admonished prosecutors.

“We know where the witnesses can be found. It’s two exits down the highway from here.”

That story also noted that Rivers Casino Portsmouth officials have been cooperating fully with authorities during the investigation.

Rivers Casino Portsmouth celebrates 1-year anniversary this month

Rivers Casino Portsmouth is coming up on its one-year anniversary on Jan. 23. The $340 million Hampton Roads casino is Rush Street Gaming’s fifth gambling venue and its first in Virginia. The company also operates casino resorts in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Des Plaines (near Chicago) and Schenectady in upstate New York.

At its opening last year, Rivers Casino Portsmouth General Manager Roy Corby celebrated the first permanent casino in Virginia.

“In less than 14 months, Rush Street Gaming and Rivers Casino went from 10 shovels and two backhoes to more than 1,446 slot machines, 57 tables, 24 poker tables, five restaurants and bars, and over 25,000 square feet of event space.”

In its first year, Rivers Casino has surpassed gaming revenue tax projections. It took only five months for the casino to welcome its one-millionth customer.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Phil West

Phil West is a longtime journalist based in Austin, Texas, whose bylines have appeared in The Daily Dot, Nautilus, Pro Soccer USA, Howler, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Antonio Express-News, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin Chronicle. He has also written two books about soccer.

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