Posted on: May 5, 2021, 11:53 am.
Last update on: May 5, 2021, 11:53 am.
The latest case of a woman charged with threatening Caesars Entertainment attorneys is an unusual circumstance, according to a law professor. The threats reportedly came in response to an employee being fired at a Las Vegas hotel casino.
The Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas shown here. It is operated by Caesars Entertainment. Company lawyers and a manager at the hotel were allegedly threatened in letters allegedly sent by a former employee’s daughter. (Image: Caesars Entertainment)
Las Vegas, 27-year-old Latonia Smith was found guilty on five counts last week after sending threatening communications to her mother’s attorneys and ex-supervisor at Caesars-operated Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.
It is not common for a defendant to send threatening letters to a casino or their attorneys, ”Robert Jarvis, professor at Shepard Broad College of Law at Nova Southeastern University, told Casino.org.
“From anecdotal information … we … know … that all lawyers are potential targets and that certain types of lawyers – such as judges, prosecutors, and divorce lawyers – are much more likely to be threatened than other types of lawyers,” said Jarvis.
“If I had to guess, I’d say casino attorneys are generally on the lower end of the risk spectrum because they rarely interact directly with clients or employees,” added Jarvis. “Your chances of provoking the wrath of a potential attacker are slim.”
Exceptions could be casino attorneys who take care of collecting bills or dismissing employees, Jarvis said. They could be at higher risk than lawyers who represent gaming properties on issues like real estate transactions or negotiating seller contracts, he said.
“Even so, there is always the possibility that a casino attorney – regardless of his specific focus – comes across or is attacked by a person like Latonia Smith,” Jarvis said of the convicted defendant.
Smith is said to have sent the letters between September 2018 and October 2019. Correspondence alleged that the mother, Annecer Peruzar, was fired because a manager was racist, according to court documents in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The supervisor, identified in the news story as Samantha Radak, said she fired Peruzar in 2017 “for allegedly taking change from a customer while cleaning the client’s room,” the court files quoted by the newspaper said.
In her letter, Smith said that her mother “would never jeopardize her job with a tip that couldn’t even buy a Coke,” said the Review Journal. Smith used the name “Medina Sinclair” to write this letter.
In another letter written by an “From Riley,” another name Smith used, she said her mother was accused by the manager of stealing $ 1.
The neck is cut
The letters also contained threats of fatal violence, the newspaper said.
Your throat will be cut, you will be recorded when the blood flows from your neck, and while you are gasping for air to take your last undeserved breath, three bullets will be shot straight through your skull, ”Smith allegedly threatened in one of the letters, told the review journal.
In another letter, Smith allegedly threatened the recipients of the correspondence that they would be “added to the hit list” and said that this was the “end” of their “life”. At one point Smith allegedly also said to the recipients of the letter, “You are all going to die.”
Smith has yet to be convicted. Overall, Jarvis said Smith’s case mattered for another reason.
“It is advised that we need to broaden our thinking and focus not only on disgruntled / laid-off workers – or other direct attackers – who are or may become dangerous, but also need to consider the threat posed by their family members as well as their close friends” said Jarvis.
In another part of the US, a disgruntled ex-worker was shot dead by police at the Oneida Casino complex just last weekend after fatally shooting two workers in the Wisconsin complex, Jarvis also noted.
Threats need to be taken seriously
Anthony Cabot, Distinguished Fellow of Gaming Law at the UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, said most casino companies have a plan for employees and others to report “problems, rule violations and complaints.”
“These often lead to unworthy claims that are reviewed and dismissed as unfounded,” Cabot told Casino.org.
“However, it is highly unusual for casinos to receive letters containing threats of violence. Because of the threat of violence in the workplace, these incidents must be taken seriously by casinos to protect their employees and guests, and by law enforcement agencies to protect public safety. “