World’s Dumbest Hotel Manager Caught Stealing From Aria Las Vegas

A manager at MGM’s Aria hotel in Las Vegas has been arrested and charged with generating $770,000 in reservation refunds – that he put on his own personal credit card.

The 10 year operations manager with MGM Resorts spent the money “at Louis Vuitton and Versace, flying on private jets, doing spa visits, going to shows and even purchasing a home.” Sounds like he knew how to stretch a dollar, too!

  • Another hotel manager whom he was dating noticed he was buying things too expensive for a hotel employee and became suspicious.

  • An audit showed he made 309 refunds to the same credit card between July 2022 and July 2023.

    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.

  • When the investigation started he quit via text.

The man was taking his co-worker on “expensive dates” and “giving him gifts” and that seemed odd consider what he’d be making at the Aria, but he explained he was moonlighting as a private chef.

His lawyer says he’s invoking the fifth and sixth amendments. so I guess he wants to be convicted more quickly? He can’t even use the stolen money for bail.

Here are some life lessons:

  1. If you’re going to steal, make sure it’s enough to live on forever, and get yourself somewhere with no extradition (not advice!). $776,000 isn’t really enough to be paying for private jets.

  2. This kind of conspicuous consumption as a hotel employee kind of makes it obvious, doesn’t it?

  3. And don’t create an audit trail by running the theft through your personal credit cards.

  4. Meanwhile, if you’re going to steal $776,000 and stick around, don’t put the money into easily traceable assets that can just be forfeited, right? You wind up in jail and the ill-gotten proceeds get returned.

Still, he’s not the dumbest thief at an MGM hotel in Las Vegas this year. In Old School Las Vegas neither one would be left to the authorities…

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’ve known of 2 individuals who left the US in a hurry (white collar crimes) and both have not been extradited back to the US. One is in Brazil and the other is in Costa Rica. Both did as you stated, Gary: “make sure it’s enough to live on forever.”

  2. > His lawyer says he’s invoking the fifth and sixth amendments. so I guess he wants to be convicted more quickly?

    What is that supposed to mean? This guys is obviously a crook, but it is generally understood that even if you are innocent not invoking your 5th amendment right is a good to way lose a trial. Presuming guilt by using your right is a very naive and foolish position to take.

  3. The Sixth Amendment guarantees the rights of criminal defendants, including the right to a public trial without unnecessary delay …

  4. @ Anthony, he’s referring to the 6th amendment right to a speedy trial. This is usually waved because attorneys typically need more time to prepare a defense for trial or arrange a plea deal. Hence, the “get convicted more quickly” remark.

  5. Stealing from an estate by a trustee or executor in New York might be done without consequences if it is less than about $250,000-$350,000. One can also delay closing the estate or trust and collect additional fees if a trustee.

  6. Good advice on theft. I particularly enjoy how you enumerate the issues, with detailed instructions.

  7. He may be dumb, but what about the person in charge of security that didn’t detect 3/4 of a million missing dollars and only got clued in when another employe noticed he was spending a lot of money? That may be the world’s dumbest security professional.

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