LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Yesterday, a federal jury convicted three defendants who worked for a Las Vegas private vault business of stealing cash, jewelry, and watches from safe deposit boxes and private vaults, as well as laundering those illegal proceeds.
“Yesterday’s verdict reflects that the defendants used their inside knowledge of the business’ security measures to take advantage of victims — including victims who were reluctant to come forward even after they were stolen from,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher Chiou for the District of Nevada. “Our office is grateful to the jury for fulfilling its civic duty, and to our law enforcement partners for their hard work and dedication in investigating the inside jobs.”
2012 Robbery. According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Phillip D. Hurbace (74, of Calpine, California) was a former contractor for the private vault business and Sylviane Della Whitmore (aka “Sylviane Cordova,” 69, of Las Vegas) was an employee of the business. They met and conspired to rob the business using information they knew. On April 14, 2012, conspirators entered the business through an adjoining vacant suite, restrained an employee using handcuffs and duct tape, and used the crawl space above the ceiling to pass over walls.
Once inside, conspirators drilled into safe deposit boxes and private vaults. They stole cash and personal property, including coins, jewelry, and watches. Whitmore subsequently deposited more than $250,000 of stolen money into her bank account, and Hurbace attempted to sell a stolen watch worth several hundred thousand dollars.
2014 Break In. In 2014, after the private vault business went into bankruptcy, Whitmore and Larry Anthony McDaniel (61, of Las Vegas) planned another heist. They broke into safe deposit boxes and private vaults, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. Afterwards, McDaniel opened new bank accounts using nearly $700,000 in cash, and Whitmore deposited $190,000 into a trust account in her mother’s name.
Hurbace was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery; one count of interference with commerce by robbery; and one count of interstate transportation of stolen property. McDaniel was found guilty of one count of fraudulent transfer of property; two counts of interstate transportation of stolen property; and 11 counts of money laundering. Whitmore was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery; one count of interference with commerce by robbery; seven counts of money laundering; one count of fraudulent transfer of property; and one count of interstate transportation of stolen property.
U.S. District Judge Andrew P. Gordon presided over the trial and scheduled sentencing for September 28, 2021. The statutory maximum penalties faced by each defendant are: Hurbace — 50 years of imprisonment and a $750,000 fine; McDaniel — 135 years of imprisonment and a $3.5 million fine; and Whitmore — 115 years of imprisonment and a $2.75 million fine.
Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher Chiou for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Albert Childress of IRS-Criminal Investigation made the announcement.
This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tony Lopez and Mina Chang are prosecuting the case.