Register scheme exposed at D.V.
The Park City Police Department arrested three foreigners working at cash registers at Deer Valley Resort on charges that they stole money from the resort in a scheme at the Silver Lake Lodge restaurant.
Rick Ryan, a Park City Police Department lieutenant, said the three would ring up customers, collect the money and then void part of the transaction. They would then pocket the difference, Ryan said.
( Mario Cesar Melo, 22, who lives in Park City.
( Clerisson Tank, 23, a Park City resident.
( Fernanda Zagonel, 22, a Park City resident.
Ryan said it appears that the three are roommates on the 7500 block of Susan Circle.
Each is charged with one count of theft, a class B misdemeanor, Ryan said. Such crimes are punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
"It appeared a simple way for them to have income and they tried to take advantage of that," Ryan said.
Formal charges had not been filed against the three by Tuesday morning.
Ryan said a Deer Valley staffer noticed irregularities when auditing the cash registers. The police were told of the scheme on Feb. 27.
Ryan said officer Kris Phillips met with a manager and Zagonel at the lodge. She confessed to the scheme to the manager and Phillips, Ryan said.
They speak Portuguese and some English, Ryan said, and the Police Department indicated they are from Brazil. Deer Valley has aggressively sought ski-season employees from South America.
Ryan said it appears that the three started the scheme in January and continued through February. He said the police believe that Melo taught Zagonel the scheme. Zagonel was taking money every five minutes at the time she was caught, Ryan said. The others were not taking money as often.
"Every five minutes is pretty frequent," he said.
Each of the three pocketed about $800, Ryan said.
Zagonel told the police that they took between $1 and $20 in each transaction.
"She might take a $20. She might take a $1," he said.
Ryan said it appears that the three exclusively took money on cash transactions.
He said there are not indications that others were involved.
"This seems to have been one group, isolated," he said.
They did not target the resort’s customers.
The police arrested Zagonel at Silver Lake Lodge on Feb. 27. The other two were questioned at police headquarters at City Hall on March 1 and were arrested then.
Bob Wheaton, Deer Valley’s president, refused to speak extensively about the case, but said such incidents do not frequently occur at the resort. He said the 2005-2006 ski season was the first that the three worked at Deer Valley.
He refused to say if the three were fired.
"It’s a private employee matter. We’ve dealt with it. It’s done," Wheaton said, adding, "We choose not to make personnel issues public."
Ryan said employee thefts are common in Park City and that businesses should have "tight security measures."
"It’s so accessible. The money’s right there," Ryan said.
He is impressed with Deer Valley’s procedures that led to the suspects’ capture.
"Deer Valley, probably, as you see from the audit, runs pretty tight," he said. "We don’t see a lot of that there."
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Gretchen Milliken started as the Park City planning director at the beginning of February. Like many others in the community, she sees the amount of traffic as a challenge.