Federal Grand Jury Charges Violet Anne Golden with Embezzlement

Casino Control Commission Chair Violet Ann Golden testifies before the Legislature in 2015. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, the V.I. Legislature)
In 2015, Violet Ann Golden testifies as chairwoman of the Casino Control Commission. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, the V.I. Legislature)

A grand jury indicted Violet Anne Golden, former head of the Casino Control Commission, on charges of embezzlement, conspiracy, wire fraud and obtaining money under false pretenses.

Allegations were laid out in a 35-page indictment unsealed Wednesday by U.S. Attorney for the Virgin Islands Gretchen Shappert. Charges brought against Golden and Casino Commission contractor Stephanie Barnes accuse the pair of using commission funds for personal use.

Investigators said the pair used the money to support a high-rolling personal lifestyle.

Both women were arrested by federal authorities and made an initial appearance before a magistrate in St. Croix District Court on Wednesday.

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Golden and Barnes are also charged with concocting a scheme to obtain money from the agency by appointing Barnes as a problem gambling educator. Investigators said Golden’s co-defendant had no training or qualifications to fill the position.

Further allegations charge Golden with misdirecting Casino Control Commission money to pay for over the top personal credit card expenses. Many of the funds were obtained through electronic fund transfers.

“According to the indictment, Golden, as chairperson of the Virgin Islands Casino Control Commission, and Barnes, a contractor, used commission funds for a variety of personal expenditures, including but not limited to trips to Walt Disney World, tickets to a Broadway production of Hamilton, and making a down payment for the purchase of a vehicle. The indictment also alleges that Golden, who had an annual salary of $105,000, failed to file timely tax returns for the 2014-2017 tax years,” Shappert said in a statement issued Wednesday.

The grand jury indictment includes four federal offenses, according to the United States Code and five local ones, according to the Virgin Islands Code.

Federal charges include theft from programs receiving federal government funds; conspiracy to commit theft from programs receiving government funds; wire fraud and money laundering.

Local charges contained in the indictment include forgery, conversion of government property, receipt of government property, fraudulent claims upon the government and failure to file tax returns.

The overwhelming tally of charges name Golden or Golden and Barnes acting in concert. Barnes was named in separate charges of making false claims against the government, receipt of government property.

Golden has served as commission director since 2009. She is also a former lawmaker who represented the St. Croix district in the 23rd Legislature.

The former director was also the subject of a highly critical report from the Office of the Inspector General in 2013. The report detailed massive abuse of casino commission funds.

The V.I. Justice Department sought a subpoena of Golden in September. The director dismissed the report’s findings as being politically motivated, but locked herself in her office when an official from the Justice Department showed up in May with a summons and complaint.

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20 COMMENTS

  1. It is great that they are going after the small rats but what about the leader of the pact our ex-governor Map and his entourage. Trip to China, mother’s caretaker, taking our money from retirement to pay employees penalties, gifts, under the table dealings, personal investments using our monies, bribes, and construction companies receiving special inside information to outbid competitors. The list goes on and on. Ann Golden and Alicia Barnes need to sing like conaries when it comes to the other rats. It is their only way out! If the Feds don’t go after the Queen Rat then expect more rats to continue to eat away at our monies and make these island stink of corruption and abuse. Time to get rid of the nest of rats. US Attorney Extermining Service is doing a great job but more rat traps are needed. Set them down by GRS, DOF, PW, DPNR, cadastral, surveys , WIC, senate offices and IRB and watch how many rats are caught. When you think you are done , start with the unions. Another set of rats. Big Stinking Ones!!! Then the banks! Employees have been stealing for years and no one has been prosecuted. Next is VIYA, Home Depot, Kmart, etc. etc. USAG office will be busy for years.

    • Who had more no-bid contracts than deJongh? GEC, otherwise known as the Governor’s Eternal Contractor got so many contracts using only local monies because deJongh got in trouble with the feds. DeJongh defrauded VI Paving and then DC Circuit Court Transportation called him out for throwing a bid to his cronies who bid twice the amount and then subbed VI Paving. Blatant corruption. Mapp used federal monies to pave roads instead of sending the money back to the feds. Mapp has no problem with federal bid scrutiny unlike deJongh who gave up federal road monies so he could direct the jobs to his kickback friends. A federal court said this, not me.
      Now, Exactly with which bids Mapp tamper?
      You must be one of those former deJongh hacks that the new “jobs for votes” Bryan rubber stamped dehongh’s old crew with people without degrees making $90,000, and driving new government vehicles with cell phones.

  2. Of course, innocent until proven guilty, but I really hope that the alleged conduct of these two people is an isolated case. To think that people in positions of power would use public funds for their own personal benefit is very concerning. According to the charges, over $1000 was spent at Nordstrom department store (I know, that’s easy to do at a high-end store), and over $6400 was spent on jewelry (I really hope it wasn’t that awful Pandora crap). I really hope the Feds don’t uncover this type of behavior if they choose to investigate other government agencies (WAPA, WICO, VIPA, VIPD, etc.). It is encouraging to see serious investigations taking place. We know that only the Feds will pursue wrong behavior-the local government, and larger community, apparently condones it as it has gone on for decades unchecked.

  3. Didn’t know Nordstrom carried plus sizes. Good to know these things. Pandora bracelets are a status thing in this community. I suppose she can pawn it to pay her lawyers if she can’t afford to pay them cash. She’ll be wearing a stainless bracelet soon…..the new platinum.

    Well that happened, misuse of public funds have been going on for years. It is a right of passage. They just can’t do their job and go home and be happy. No , they have to take as much as they can at any cost. It’s the nature of the beast. Hey, there are some really honest, loyal, hard working people in government but they don’t get the recognition or the financial increases. The rats do. Sad! Very Sad! It would be nice to think I was not living in hell’s paradise. I prefer nature’s paradise but we got to take the good with the bad……unfortunately.

  4. “The former director was also the subject of a highly critical report from the Office of the Inspector General in 2013. The report detailed massive abuse of casino commission funds.”

    Why did it take so long for her and her co conspirator to be looked into and arrested after the OIG report in 2013?

  5. Circle the correct answer to the above question.
    a. Shear laziness
    b. Family -friends association
    c. Fear of retaliation
    d. Not seen as wrong or illegal
    e. Don’t care. It is how things are done.
    f. All of the above.

  6. Katie
    You must’ve Hated Mapp mehson!!! Sorry to disappoint you put not surprised they won’t find any corruption with this governor. If they come after him then they need to go after the previous governor whose mother-in-law was in Herbert Grigg. Also the trip to China was cleared by the State Department and Interior. They would have to also charge themselves with corruption. I hate to disappoint you, but you will not find what your looking for. Corruption didn’t want him interrupting the sweet they were accustomed to enjoy. So they brainwashed and used you to get him out.

  7. Good girl, I was not brainwashed, used, fooled, controlled, manipulated or deceived by anyone. No body owns me. Not the government, the welfare department, food stamp department, housing department, labor department, medical assistance department, federal government, no man, no woman and no child. I am free. As for seeing Map for what he is , I do not stand alone. The majority spoke. The brainwashed minority loss. We have a new governor.
    When people in government go crazy spending the public’s money, they forget to pay attention to the details. He made mistakes. He’s just so full of himself he can’t believe he will be caught. Give time to to the time. It is called Karmic Justice! You need to move away from your hypnotic pendulum and see Map and his cronies for what they are. If you can’t or won’t then it is your arse not mine.

    • Maybe he should just go sleep wit he muddah. I pray to any all who will listen that the federal charges will soon be rolled out against this truly horrible person. He will get that which is coming his way, and he too will soon opt for a nice shiny pair of bracelets, as his insides rot him away. Sooner rather than later.

      Oh, BTW, getting State Department authorization to travel to China, has absolutely no bearing on his massive misappropriations and criminal behavior.

      Did we forget the FAT FARM. RESORT FOR PIGS AND SWINE? Did the US Dept of Weights and Measures authorize THAT trip.

      He and his criminal brotherhood, and like-minded family members all deserve to be thoroughly investigated, arrested, charged, and sent away to federal prison in Minnesota for example.

  8. Katie
    It’s your arse who is taken for a ride. Wait watch as it unfold. They are no direct flights to St. Kitts from the USVI. In the indictment papers it shows how Anne and Stephanie got there by chartered flight. How did Albert got there??? I guess the State Department came fishing Airforce 2 was seen on HERA some top level ppl on island. He got 2 things to worry about. Who paid for the trip that was classified personal and did he notify authorities that he was on international soil. Staph worry bout Mapp the Interior Dept done clear he and he got a good contract with them. He ain’t corrupt is dem damn Demorats that ah yo so love here in the VI. Watch what’s happening in PR. Trump going to clean this place up. Don’t be surprised if you get a knock on your door🤔

  9. You know what they say about assumption. You are assuming that I am a Democrat. You are assuming that I voted for Bryan. You are assuming that my life revolve around anybody but my self.! You assume that the Feds are here for Bryan. They could be here for Map and his entourage and you. I am an American citizen. Are you? I pay my taxes. Do you? I care about these islands. Do you? I am a Native Virgin Islander are you? I don’t get anything from this government, do you? I am not associated with not one politician on this island, are you? I don’t care about Map, Bryan, Senators, Flights from Airforce 2 or Timbuktu. I care only about this island, it’s people, our culture and our heritage. The nonsense you wrote about in your comment is important to someone without a life. Get one and stop ringing the bell that the sky is falling. The sky is not falling and you are not living in Shaangri-la. Wake up and stop wrapping your life around a bunch nonsense like Map , Bryan, Airforce 2 and blah, blah, blah.

  10. Katie, you talk about Mapp and not deJongh?!? The governor who stole half million dollars of tax payer money to upgrade his private home?!? The one whose wife took her entourage on a first class junket to Africa? The one who dumped his mother in law in Herbert Gregg on the tax payer’s dime while his wife’s salary from the pedophile was $250,000? The governor who made absurd deals with Diageo and Hovensa that were either from greed and stupidity? John deJongh who let Hovensa off the hook while Mapp turned around the economy of STX with Lime Tree? DeJongh who had a deal with three plea deal felons to rebuild a stadium with our own money. The same deJongh who Senator Carlton Dowe tried to cover up his home improvement with a backdated bill? The same former senator Dowe who was prosecuted for embezzlement that Albert Bryan has knighted?!?The same deJongh that pardoned a sitting Senator Hansen on parole who authored the Roge scam, that Albert Bryan plans to place in power to replace the other thieving Senator Golden at the casino control commission?? Really?!? Wow.

  11. You are correct! Once governors, senators, commissioner and directors get a positions in government, they feel like they are invisible,omnipotent and they become narcissistic . They forget their purpose. They are motivated by power and money. After being elected, their brain matter starts to charge and they become pretentious, conniving, and consumed by greed . It is inevitable. The last half-way decent Governor was Ceril King. He tried to make changes but he was going up against a system that consumes the humble, decent and honest. If you look at the most stressed leaders in our community, those that care, you can see how they tired, weary and sickly they look. They are being consumed by the cancer that exists in this government. They won’t last, unfortunately. The happier they look the more deeper they are in the cesspool of this government.

    DeJongh and his wife are far from sainthood, that I know but Map is not wearing a halo either. Evans, Roy Sneider, Farally, Juan Louis all have their sins too. You, me and million people before and after us can not stop or change leaders that are consumed with the disease of greed, selfishness, and deceit. Prayers can’t help. Laws don’t helps. Boundaries don’t help. The jail cell helps but we don’t have enough cells for the number of theives that are out there and we can’t forget their loyal followers that would battle, lie, steal and manipulate for them. The ugliness of the human race.

  12. I wish Gov Bryan the best. He has a lot of work to do and bring peace in the community. DeJongh days are over. Why people keep talking about him. Maybe if we go back to 2006, all of this would stop. God help us.

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