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Vegas casino: Employee took high-roller info

By Ken Ritter
Associated Press / July 20, 2012
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LAS VEGAS—A Las Vegas casino resort obtained a court order Friday banning a former employee from distributing confidential files about thousands of high-rolling gamblers and guests that she is accused of misappropriating by emailing from work to her home.

The fired Palms Casino Resort host, Jessica Hemingway, told a judge she hadn't distributed the information that she sent to her personal computer so she could do her work at home.

"I was using it for the Palms, to market people to come to the Palms," Hemingway said in a court hallway minutes before Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez issued a permanent injunction ordering Hemingway and her fiance not to distribute the information.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday by the resort against Hemingway alleges she misappropriated trade secrets.

Hemingway accused casino officials of firing her on July 9, two days after she filed a complaint with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission alleging that she had been sexually harassed by a male supervisor.

Hemingway and fiance Scott Yelton appeared before the judge without a lawyer. They did not contest an order to give casino officials access to her computer, but they rejected a proposed agreement with Palms attorneys that would include dropping the sexual harassment claim.

Citing first reports about the case in the Las Vegas Sun on Thursday, Yelton, 32, a retired Oklahoma City fire paramedic, said he and Hemingway, 31, wanted to clear her name.

The casino believes more than 50,000 files relating to thousands of people were involved in the emails but Social Security numbers were not included, Palms attorney Elizabeth Nelson said.

Nelson said she couldn't comment on pending litigation, including the sexual harassment claim and details of the lawsuit filed Tuesday against Hemingway in Clark County District Court.

The forwarded files included "valuable non-public, confidential and trade secrets information" belonging to the Palms Casino Resort, the court filing said.

"Palms tracks and records activities of its regular players, including what they play, when and how frequently they do so, their spending patterns and their credit lines," company attorney Elayna Youchah said in the document.

Hemingway began working as a casino host in the table games department in September 2011, signing a confidentiality agreement, the lawsuit said. Her primary responsibility was ensuring the comfort and enjoyment of casino customers by making sure appropriate complimentary services were received and reasonable requests fulfilled.

After learning in June that Hemingway was looking for another job, company officials checked her work emails and found confidential information had been compromised, the lawsuit said.

The information included lists and player information for more than 500 of the resort's high-roller customers, and for 6,000 people who qualified for invitations to the casino's coveted Super Bowl party, according to the lawsuit. Hemingway also was accused of emailing herself a spreadsheet detailing the casino's 2011 marketing strategy for out-of-town guests.

Palms referred a report about Hemingway's conduct to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, where Mark Lipparelli said its status was not immediately known.

Officer Jose Hernandez, a Las Vegas police spokesman, said he did not find that a police report had been filed.

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