Disney Embezzler Started Small & Moved Up, FBI Agent Says

SAN DIEGO (CN) — According to the FBI affidavit, a Walt Disney employee embezzled $275,000 while working on a Disney cruise ship, and spent $35,000 of it on a family vacation — at Disney World.

In the affidavit attached to the federal complaint on Monday, an FBI agent says Renan Dias Da Rocha Gomes admitted that he started by embezzling $40, and when he “realized that nothing happened to him,” he “immediately thereafter began loading the limit of $1,000 onto multiple gift cards while working on the ship,” the Disney Wonder.

Rocha Gomes was arrested on Oct. 27, when the cruise ship pulled into San Diego Harbor after a trip to Mexico. Rocha Gomes, 32, of Brazil, was arraigned Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mitchell Dembin.

Rocha Gomes worked as a “merchandise host” at stores on the cruise ship, and is accused of embezzling the money for two years.

He returned some of the money to Disney, in a sense, when he spent $35,000 on a trip to Disney World, using gift cards loaded with the embezzled money, according to the complaint. It says he spent $8,700 on hotel rooms and more than $26,000 on food and drinks, merchandise and entertainment.

A $1,000 wire transfer on Oct. 25 was intercepted by the FBI, which has jurisdiction over crimes committed at sea.

According to the affidavit, Rocha Gomes admitted the crimes after he was arrested, when FBI agents questioned him in the captain’s conference room aboard the Disney cruise ship.

He is charged with one count of wire fraud, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

He was found to be a flight risk at his arraignment. A detention hearing is set for Wednesday.

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