Workers accused of stealing casino players list

June 16, 2008 6:16:05 PM PDT
Three casino workers were indicted Monday on charges they stole a list of more than 20,000 top players from the Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City. New Jersey prosecutors said the list was worth more than $108 million because it included the names, addresses, phone numbers and gambling data on important casino patrons.

"We charge that these marketers stole one of the most valuable assets of the casino, namely detailed contact information and ratings for its top-level players," Attorney General Anne Milgram said in a statement. "This type of corporate espionage and theft involving proprietary information is a very serious crime."

The three had all worked for the Tropicana three years ago and later left for other casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas.

Accused are:

- John Conklin, 47, of Galloway, who had been a marketing vice president at Tropicana and became vice president of relationship marketing at Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City.

- Justin Litterelle, 26, of Las Vegas, a one-time Tropicana marketing analyst who reported to Conklin before going to the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

- James DiMarco, 59, of Ocean City.

All were charged with theft by unlawful taking, computer theft and conspiracy. In addition, Conklin and Litterelle were charged with receiving stolen property, and DiMarco was charged with attempted receiving stolen property.

Conklin also was charged with witness tampering, accused of having a lawyer get Litterelle to sign a false affidavit stating that Conklin had not asked him to download the player list.

The weightiest charges carry up to 10 years in state prison and a fine of $150,000.

Conklin lawyer John M. Donnelly declined to comment. Messages left for the other defendants' lawyers were not immediately returned Monday.

Borgata spokesman Michael Facenda declined to comment regarding Conklin.

A Bellagio spokesman, Gordon Absher, said Litterelle resigned in November 2007.

Authorities could not say for certain where DiMarco went to work in Atlantic City.

Prosecutors charged that while at Tropicana, Conklin had Litterelle download a list of top-level player names from the Tropicana computer database for "future leverage" so they could take patrons with them when they went to other casinos. The list was placed on three discs labeled Litterelle labeled "Bette Midler," officials said.

In March 2007, Conklin was at the Borgata when he called Litterelle, who was a national marketing manager at the Bellagio, and asked Litterelle to send DiMarco the player list because DiMarco had lost his job at the Tropicana, officials said.

Litterelle e-mailed the list to Conklin and arranged with DiMarco to send him a paper copy. Litterelle tried to send the paper copy from the Bellagio mailroom, but an employee notified Bellagio security department, officials said.

Bellagio notified the Tropicana and the Borgata, and all three casinos cooperated with New Jersey's investigation, authorities said.


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