LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — An executive at the Aria Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip is facing 15 charges after allegedly stealing more than $770,000 by making fraudulent hotel reservation refunds charged to his credit card.
Brandon Rashaad Johnson, 38, hotel operations manager at the MGM Resorts International property since 2013, used the stolen funds to live a lavish lifestyle that included shopping at Louis Vuitton and Versace, flying on private jets, going to spas, attending shows and even more According to his arrest report, he bought a house.
In early July 2023, the report said, another hotel manager became suspicious of Johnson because of the expensive items he was purchasing and suspected he might be making fraudulent reservation refunds on his own credit card. While Johnson had the authority to issue refunds, an internal audit and investigation that began July 25 found that Johnson had issued 309 refunds to the same VISA credit card number, documents show.
The transactions took place over a 12-month period from July 2022 to July 2023 and four days after the investigation began, Johnson resigned from his job via text message. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department was notified of the suspected theft on July 27 and began an investigation.
An Aria colleague told police that Johnson began giving him gifts and taking him on expensive dates, and when he asked Johnson where he got the money, Johnson told him that he worked as a private chef for high-end clients . That colleague said he became suspicious and began investigating Johnson’s work transactions. He saw that the money had all gone to the same credit card number, so he notified management, the arrest report states.
On August 31, the law firm Las Vegas Defense Group contacted Metro Police and reported that it represented Johnson, who turned himself in to police on September 1. At that time he invoked his rights under the 5th and 6th Amendments.
The arrest report details the alleged transactions Johnson made over the course of a year. The first two took place in July 2022 and totaled $6,400, but by July 2023 he already had 37 transactions that month totaling almost $110,000.
Johnson faces 15 charges:
Theft of more than $5,000 but less than $25,000 (2 counts)
Theft of more than $25,000 but less than $100,000 (9 cases)
Theft of more than $100,000 (2 counts)
Money laundering/attempted money laundering
Unlawful offense relating to computers
Johnson is currently being held at the Clark County Detention Center and no bond has been listed. He has a source hearing scheduled for Sept. 11, where he will have to prove that the money he intended to use for bail was not illegally stolen money. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 19.