A former employee aboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship pleaded guilty in San Diego federal court Thursday to one count of wire fraud in connection with his scheme to embezzle more than $275,000 from the Walt Disney Company.
Renan Dias Da Rocha Gomes, 32, admitted that from at least October 2015 through Oct. 27. 2017, he was employed as a merchandise host and assigned to work in the merchandise stores aboard the Disney Wonder.
Gomes admitted he executed his scheme by fraudulently obtaining money through his access to the VeriFone payment system in order to embezzle funds from Disney for his own personal gain.
According to his plea agreement, Gomes admitted he made about $275,000 in unauthorized charges to Disney’s bank account and loaded the value of the funds onto Disney gift cards while working aboard the Disney Wonder on the high seas.
Gomes also admitted that from April 23 through May 7 of this year, he spent about $37,700 of the embezzled funds for his own personal benefit by taking his family on a Disney World vacation.
While on vacation, Gomes said he used the gift cards with the embezzled funds to pay about $8,200 in lodging, $29,500 on food, beverages, merchandise and entertainment expenses.
As part of his plea agreement, Gomes will be required to repay The Walt Disney Company the total amount of funds he stole which the company was unable to recover.
Gomes, a Brazilian national, remains in custody pending his next court appearance on March 9. He was arrested in October when federal agents boarded the Disney Wonder ship after it made port in San Diego Harbor.
–City News Service
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