Ex-Sheraton employee charged with felony theft

— Using a program offered by a local hotel that awards guests with free lodging and airline tickets, a 22-year-old Brazilian man allegedly formed fraudulent accounts to take a California vacation.

Giancarlo Fortunato DaSilva faces a felony theft charge for allegedly setting up three fraudulent accounts as an employee of the Sheraton Steamboat Resort between January 2000 and September 2001.

DaSilva, who no longer works for the company, was arrested Saturday after a three-month investigation by Steamboat Springs police. He was arrested at his home in the 300 block of Old Fish Creek Road and booked into the Routt County Jail.

DaSilva appeared in Routt County Court Monday afternoon. Judge James Garrecht set the man's bond at $3,000.

According to court records, DaSilva allegedly used the hotel's program for "preferred customers" to secure two airline tickets and a week's worth of lodging to go to Los Angeles, Calif.,

in March 2001.

DaSilva allegedly used a program offered by Starwood Hotels Inc., which owns the Sheraton Steamboat Resort, records show.

The program allows "preferred guests" to accumulate points that can be used for free lodging at other hotels owned by Starwood or toward airline tickets.

DaSilva, who is employed by a local hotel and has a work Visa, allegedly created three fraudulent accounts under names of "Giancarlo Silver, G. Silver and Gabrielle Sallentti," records show.

Investigators believe DaSilva got access to a code that is used to make changes to accounts, and then added points to each fraudulent account.

DaSilva then used the points to buy two roundtrip airline tickets from Denver to Los Angeles and book a week's lodging at the Sheraton Harbor Hotel, investigators have alleged.

During an interview with investigators last week, DaSilva admitted to taking the vacation with the use of the fraudulent accounts, records show.

He told investigators he did not intend to create the fraudulent accounts but did so when he accidentally got access to a code, records show.

During the California trip where DaSilva and a friend went to Disneyland, the suspect also is accused of using points to get a $200 gift certificate to a department store, Saks Fifth Avenue.

Steamboat police began investigating DaSilva at the end of December when a hotel official contacted them.

During a review of their "preferred guest list," the hotel did not recognize the accounts DaSilva is accused of creating. All of the fake accounts include DaSilva's mailing address, records show.

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