Born in 1923, George Jay Vandermark had worked in Vegas for some time already when 1976 found him working at the mob owned Stardust Casino. In May of that year, the Nevada Gaming Commission staged a raid and quickly found out that a wide ranging skim was being conducted to the tune of about $7 million. Nice money, that, too bad that George told the mob it was only $4 million (roughly $300,000 a week). That meant that George had put aside $3 million for himself. It is alleged that Vandermark’s job as a slot supervisor was to create opportunities to do this skim, such as rigging the scales that were used to weigh the coins from slots (For example, 1lb of coins would weigh in at 3/4 a pound to be reported to the IRS).
Mr. Vandermark vanished before law enforcement could interview him.
As you might imagine, this upset the mafia who were running the show. Such men as the alleged Godfather of Milwaukee, Frank Balistrieri (a man believe by many to have had others killed for simply insulting him behind his back).
Not a good thing to do, pissing those folks off.
The government reached out to George via his son, Jeff, to warn him that his life was in great danger. They offered to put him into witness protection. My understanding is that Jeff told the FBI that he was able to contact his father, who may have been living in Mexico at the time, and that George was willing to talk with the FBI. This might have been a fatal mistake on his part, since soon after Jeff was found dead with his skull crushed (1).
For a few years following, there were reports of Vandermark sightings both in Baja, Mexico, and Phoenix. These stopped by 1978.
Current rumor has it that the mafia caught up with George in Mexico where they had him killed and buried in the desert (2).
No one has been charged with Vandermark’s disappearance or murder, nor has any trace of the money looted from the Stardust ever been discovered.
Stealing from the mafia is never a good idea.
(1): Was his son, Jeff, killed to find the money that his father stole? Three million is a lot of money, after all.
(2). Another story is that the mob gave him a trip to Mexico, a thanks for all of George’s hard work, and then had him killed in Mexico and used a look alike to cause confusion through the subsequent sightings.
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