LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A management employee at Aria hotel on the Las Vegas Strip is facing 15 charges after allegedly stealing more than $770K by creating fraudulent hotel reservation refunds that were put on his credit card.
Brandon Rashaad Johnson, 38, a hotel operations manager since 2013 for the MGM Resorts International property used the stolen funds to live a lavish lifestyle which included shopping at Louis Vuitton and Versace, flying on private jets, doing spa visits, going to shows and even purchasing a home, according to his arrest report.
In early July 2023, the report states another hotel manager became suspicious of Johnson due to the expensive items he was purchasing and suspected he might be making fraudulent reservation refunds to his own credit card. Johnson did have the authority to do refunds but during an internal audit and investigation that started on July 25, it was discovered there were 309 refunds done by Johnson to the same VISA credit card number, documents showed.
The transactions took place over a 12-month period from July 2022 to July 2023 and four days after the investigation started, Johnson quit his job with a text message. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department was notified of the alleged theft on July 27 and began an investigation.
An Aria co-worker told police, Johnson began giving him gifts and taking him on expensive dates and when he asked Johnson where he got the money, Johnson told him he was working as a private chef for high-end clients. That co-worker said he became suspicious and began looking into Johnson’s work transactions and saw the money was all going to the same credit card number so he notified management, the arrest report stated.
On Aug. 31, a law firm, Las Vegas Defense Group contacted Metro police to report they were representing Johnson who surrendered to police on Sept. 1. At that time, he invoked his 5th and 6th Amendment rights.
The arrest report details the alleged transactions Johnson made over the course of a year. The first two were in July 2022 and totaled $6,400 but by July 2023 he was up to 37 transactions that month totaling nearly $110K.
Johnson is facing 15 charges:
- Theft of more than $5K but less than $25K (2 counts)
- Theft of more than $25K but less than $100K (9 counts)
- Theft of more than $100K (2 counts)
- Money laundering/attempted money laundering
- Unlawful felony act regarding computers
Johnson is currently being held in Clark County Detention Center and no bail has been listed. He is scheduled for a source hearing on Sept. 11 where he must prove the money he would use for bail was not illegally taken money. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 19.