Former FBI agent sentenced for gambling away government cash in Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS, CA -- DECEMBER 19, 2019: Vegas buffets — Bellagio. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
Scott Carpenter, a former special agent with the FBI's New York City field office, took more than $13,000 government money meant to be used in an undercover operation and lost it all while gambling at the Bellagio Resort and Casino. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

A former FBI agent was sentenced to three months in federal custody this week for gambling away more than $13,000 in government money during an undercover operation in Las Vegas.

Scott Carpenter, a former special agent with the FBI's New York City field office, pleaded guilty in February to conversion of government money.

Although both the prosecution and defense argued for probation, he was sentenced Wednesday to three months in federal custody, which will be served in either prison or home confinement pending a judge's decision, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

The charge stems from an undercover operation Carpenter led in the summer of 2017, according to court records.

Carpenter and three other agents traveled to Las Vegas with $135,000 in government cash to be used for the sting's bribe payments and incidental expenses.

The agents conducted an operation at a hotel cabana and afterward went to the Bellagio Resort and Casino for their last night together, according to court records. Before leaving the hotel room, Carpenter took $10,000 of government money from a hotel safe.

The agents went to the resort's high roller room, where Carpenter bought $10,000 in chips. He played blackjack for several hours and lost all $10,000.

"He then pressed [another] undercover agent to give him additional money belonging to the United States the undercover agent had brought with him from the suite," according to the plea agreement. "Carpenter then gambled away that money as well."

According to Bellagio records, Carpenter lost $13,500 over two to three hours, with an average bet size of $721.

"Even though Carpenter had been drinking on Saturday at the cabana and at the Bellagio while gambling, he knew that he was gambling with money belonging to the United States," the plea agreement read. "As an FBI agent and the lead case agent for the investigation, Carpenter occupied a position of trust that he abused in a manner that allowed him to convert the government money."

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.