MARQUETTE, MICHIGAN — Six defendants convicted of conspiring to commit theft from a gaming establishment on Indian lands were sentenced to federal prison, U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr. announced today. U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell sentenced each of the defendants as follows:
Joe Michael Koster, 63, of Claremore, Oklahoma was sentenced to 36 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release.
Cheryl Rose Steinsiek, 47, of Claremore, Oklahoma was sentenced to 13 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.
Michael Leo Patterson, 46, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and two years of supervised release.
Koster, Steinsiek, and Patterson were all ordered to pay $308,370 in restitution to the Kewadin Casino.
Jeffrey Paul Neighbors, 36, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was sentenced to nine months in prison and three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $67,000 in restitution to the Kewadin Casino.
Vannessa Robb, 57, of Haskell, Oklahoma was sentenced to one month in prison and two years of supervised release, and must pay $150,000 in restitution to the Kewadin Casino.
Bruce Robb, 58, of Haskell, Oklahoma was sentenced to six months in prison and two years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution.
Each of the defendants pleaded guilty last October to a count of conspiracy to commit theft from a gaming establishment on Indian lands. The charges arose from an investigation that began with an anonymous tip identifying Koster, Steinsiek, and Patterson as being involved in a scheme to steal money from the Kewadin Casino through the use of a device that tricked machines into payouts. Video surveillance from the Kewadin Casino showed the defendants perpetrating the scheme over three weekends in June 2011. This video surveillance showed that Koster would use a device to trick the gaming machines into payouts while one or more of his co-conspirators would act as lookouts for him and carry the money stolen from the machines to the cash cage to convert from quarters to paper currency. Koster and Patterson were arrested by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribal Police after being observed by security personnel running the scheme.
The subsequent investigation conducted by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the Marquette, Michigan and Tulsa, Oklahoma, offices revealed that Koster, Steinsiek, and Patterson began the scheme to steal money from gaming machines two years prior, in June 2009.
The investigation also revealed that Bruce and Vannessa Robb joined the conspiracy in June 2010, and Neighbors joined the conspiracy in winter 2011. Koster, together with one or more of his co-conspirators, traveled to Sault Ste. Marie on 52 weekends over a two-year period from June 2009 to June 2011 to steal from the Kewadin Casino. The court found that Koster and his co-conspirators stole approximately $310,000 from the Kewadin Casino over the course of the two-year period.
The Sault Ste. Marie Tribal Police and agents from the FBI investigated the cases. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul D. Lochner prosecuted the cases.