By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
A Haywood County man will serve 27 months in federal prison and will have to pay back $475,000 in restitution to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort for embezzling from the property from Oct. 2013 to April 2014. Keith Alan Franklin, 27, of Waynesville, was sentenced on Tuesday, Aug. 11 in U.S. District Court in Asheville by District Judge Martin Reidinger.
In addition to the above, Franklin must also serve three years of supervised release.
According to the Bill of Indictment issued on June 3, 2014, he was charged with 18 US Code 1168(b) Theft by officers or employees of gaming establishments on Indian lands. It states that Franklin, “did embezzle, purloin, willfully misapply, and take and carry away with intent to steal, money belonging to such establishment…”
Information released by the Department of Justice states, “Franklin routinely stole money while working at Harrah’s by exploiting a flaw in the casino’s security system. Court records indicate that Franklin stole more than $400,000 from the casino in this manner and used the money to buy numerous cars and to support his personal lifestyle. Franklin was fired in April 2014 after Harrah’s discovered the theft and pleaded guilty in October 2014 to one count of theft by an employee of gaming establishments on Indian lands.”
According to the Writ of Execution in the case, Franklin had “substantial nonexempt interest” including: 29 various vehicles including numerous cars, trucks and SUVs, several motorcycles and ATVs, a boat and trailer and a Sea Doo and trailer; a New Holland Front Loader; a kit car; cash in the amount of $62,585.27; and a diamond engagement ring worth approximately $38,575.
The Writ, signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis L. Howell, directed the U.S. Marshall Service to file a Notice of Levy with the net proceeds from the sale of Franklin’s items and the U.S. District Clerk of Court was directed to transfer the funds into the Restitution Fund once the judgment was officially offered.
According to the DOJ release, “Franklin is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole. The U.S. Secret Service handled the investigation assisted by the Cherokee Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Gast prosecuted the case.”
Harrah’s Cherokee officials declined to comment on the case.