A Disney Cruises employee embezzled $275,000 and spent the money on a Disney World vacation, federal prosecutors said.
Renan Dias Da Rocha Gomes was arrested by federal agents aboard the Disney Wonder on Friday, Oct. 27. The ship had just returned to San Diego following a cruise to Mexico.
After an arraignment Monday, Gomes was charged with wire fraud in connection with an embezzlement scheme involving over $275,000.
As a merchandise host, Gomez illegally obtained money through VeriFone, the payment system used by the cruise line, according to a spokesperson for the Southern District of California’s Office of the U.S. Attorney.
The complaint filed accused Gomes of loading about $275,000 onto gift cards for him to later spend.
According to court records, Gomes spent approximately $35,000 of the embezzled funds taking his family on a Disney World vacation.
Gomes was also accused of using identification for another Disney employee who was not on the ship at the time as a way to cover up his crimes.
Disney investigators and federal agents interviewed Gomes. Court documents allege that Gomes confessed to his crimes during that interview. From there, Gomes was taken to a local federal facility for processing.
The FBI has also enlisted the help of ICE Homeland Security Investigations, as Gomes is a citizen and national of Brazil and was working on the ship through a specialized crew visa.
Acting United States Attorney Alana W. Robinson said, “The charges brought today against a former employee of the Disney Wonder demonstrate that when an individual uses federal wires on the high seas to take advantage of his employer and defrauds his employer out of more than a quarter of a million dollars, that person will be prosecuted for his crimes.”
Gomes has been detained and will be held in federal custody until his hearing, as he is a flight risk.
His detention hearing is scheduled for Nov. 1 and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 8.
If convicted, he faces a minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.