Disney Crewmember Sentenced for Embezzlement

Disney Wonder (file image)

By The Maritime Executive 2018-03-14 19:17:00

A court in San Diego has sentenced a former crewmember of the cruise ship Disney Wonder to 15 months for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars on Disney gift cards. 

Brazilian national Renan Dias Da Rocha Gomes, 32, was an employee at a shipboard merchandise store on the Wonder. From 2015 through 2017, Gomes made $275,000 in charges on a Disney bank account and put the money onto gift cards using the store's VeriFone payment system, 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, 2017, 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. 

Gomes pled guilty to charges of wire fraud, and he will be deported to Brazil once his prison sentence is complete. 

The 1999-built Disney Wonder was the second vessel to enter Disney's fleet. She made news last year as the first passenger vessel to pass through the expanded Panama Canal locks. She has a passenger capacity of 2,400, and she is home ported in San Diego for cruises to Baja.