Man Pleads Guilty To Village People Casino Scam

By Ben Hamill - June 05 2020
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Man Pleads Guilty To Village People Casino Scam

Oregon’s The Mill Casino Hotel & RV Park is a popular North Bend tourist destination offering all-year round entertainment and hotel accommodation. And so, when a Florida man in August 2015 contacted tribal casino management claiming to own a company representing popular disco stage act The Village People, management thought nothing awry of it. After some negotiations, the parties settled on $12,500 being a reasonable fee for an evening’s worth of musical entertainment by the well-known live music act. The deal was signed and sealed, and the cheque delivered.

But it did not take too long for employees of the casino, which casino is owned and operated by the Coquille Indian Tribe, to realise that the music act did in fact have a different show booked in Florida for the same date sold to them by 67-year-old Howard Harlib’s Premier Entertainment.

The Village People are known the world over for their costumed act and disco hits like “YMCA”, “Go West”, “Macho Man”, and “In The Navy”.

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Charged & Sentenced

Calls from casino management to Harlib initially went unanswered, but the Florida scammer eventually owned up to his act of swindling and admitted that he had no relationship, working or otherwise, with the group known as The Village People. The musical act had obviously been no more than a ploy for the savvy Florida criminal and his money-swindling misgivings.

According to the US Department of Justice, Harlib, who has been in the custody of the state of Florida since 2016 on completely unrelated charges, a little over a week ago formally plead guilty on a single count of wire fraud for having tried to scam the popular casino and resort out of thousands of dollars. He was sentenced to a time spent behind federal prison bars, along with three more years released but under strict federal supervision. The 67-year-old was also ordered by US Attorney Billy J. Williams to pay back the $12,500 he had so shamelessly managed to solicit from casino management for the supposed The Village People act he never had any intention or capacity of delivering.

The Mill Casino Is Open

The Mill Casino, which re-opened its doors on May 18 after a two-month period of closure related to current world-wide public health challenges, offers to its visitors a selection of 700 slots, along with a premium selection of table games and an IGT-operated sports betting kiosk. Since the casino is operated by a native American tribe and situated and run on tribal land, state regulations have no legal control over the casino and resort’s day-to-day operations.

The Mill Casino Hotel & RV Park has however proclaimed itself safe and sanitised and with a proper Safe Play Plan in place so as to ensure safe and hygienic entertainment for all its players.

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