Probable cause to charge ex-Club 88 manager

The Superior Court found probable cause yesterday to charge the former manager of the Club 88 mini casino at the Oceanview Hotel in Garapan of stealing over $20,000 cash from the casino’s vault.

At a preliminary hearing, Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho found probable to believe that the crime of theft was committed and that Daniel Ryan Stafford may have committed the offense.

Camacho heard the testimony of the government’s witnesses: police detective John Wabol and casino consultant Kenneth John Warner.

Assistant attorney general Jonathan Wilberscheid, counsel for the government, argued that a surveillance camera at Club 88 showed that on Nov. 28 and 29, 2017, Stafford was holding stacks of money on his desk.

Wilberscheid said that on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2017, Stafford did not report for work.

The prosecutor said it was only Stafford and a couple of others who knew the casino vault’s combination number.

Wilberscheid said the company-issued car service to Stafford was found abandoned near Coral Ocean Point last Dec. 7.

Defense counsel David Banes argued that no one saw Stafford taking the money from the vault and that three people actually have access to it.

After the hearing, the 40-year-old Stafford was remanded into the custody of the Department of Corrections.

Arraignment will be on Jan. 29 at 9am.

According to the prosecutor in court document, Stafford stole over $20,000 cash from Club 88’s vault between Sept. 28, 2017, and Dec. 1, 2017, on Saipan.

Police responded to a call about a theft incident at Club 88 after a person called that the vault should have contained $32,203, but just had $1,900 in it.

The court issued an arrest warrant for Stafford last Dec. 7, but the suspect surrendered to the police last Jan. 12.

Stafford remains in jail after failing to post the $50,000 cash bail.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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