A crewmember of the cruise ship Disney Wonder stands accused of one count of wire fraud after he admitted to embezzling $275,000 through the ship’s VeriFone point of sale system.
32-year-old Brazilian national Renan Dias Da Rocha Gomes, an employee of the Wonder’s merchandise store, has confessed to fraudulently diverting money from Disney for his own benefit by loading company funds onto gift cards. From 2015 through 2017, Gomes made $275,000 in charges on a Disney bank account and transferred the funds onto Disney cards, prosecutors said. He used $35,000 of this amount to pay for a family vacation to Disney World, including $8,700 for lodging and $26,400 for food, beverages, merchandise and entertainment.
After an internal investigation by Disney, FBI agents met the Wonder at the pier in San Diego on October 27, and they boarded the vessel to meet with Gomes. He admitted to fraudulently uploading funds onto the cards using the VeriFone system, and said that he had started with small amounts before working his way up to the maximum amount of $1,000 per transaction. He said that he had been conducting the scheme for three years.
Gomes has been detained at a jail in San Diego pending trial. His arraignment is set for November 21.
The 1999-built Disney Wonder was the second vessel to enter Disney’s fleet. She has a passenger capacity of 2,400, and she is home ported in San Diego for cruises to Baja.