Nevada Court Rules Las Vegas Sands Does Not Have to Release Documents
The Las Vegas Sands Corp. does not have to hand over documents in a wrongful termination lawsuit, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled last week. Lawyers for Steven Jacobs, who was the former head of Sands China when he was fired in 2010, say they need those documents to make their case properly. Though their team met a setback in the appeals process, it’s still uncertain whether the lawsuit will continue.
A lower court rule that the Sands Corporation had to turn over the documents. When the Las Vegas Sands appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court, the court found unanimously (5-0) that the release of those documents was unnecessary. According to the court panel, the Jacobs’ legal team had waited too long to make a request for the files.
Steven Jacobs’ Case
Steven Jacobs was fired by the Las Vegas Sands Corp. in July 2010. He now accuses the world’s largest gaming company of breach of contract. Jacobs also claims the Sands pushed him into “illegal activity” while he was working at in China’s gambling capital, Macau. The lawsuit was filed three months after Jacobs was fired and has taken several years to reach the Nevada Supreme Court.
Las Vegas Sands Counter-Suit
Eventually, the Las Vegas Sands filed a counterclaim against Jacobs. In the counterclaim, they accused their former casino chief of extortion. The Sands’ lawsuit also accuses their former employee of ties to Chinese organized crime.
Documents Discovered in Las Vegas, Not Macau
In an earlier ruling back in 2012, Nevada District Judge Elizabeth Gonzales sanctioned the Las Vegas Sands, because they had failed to disclose documents they possessed in their Las Vegas headquarters. Steven Jacobs’ lawyers had filed for access to those records, but the Sands’ legal team claimed they were inaccessible, because they were held in Macau and thus subject to China’s “Personal Data Protection Act”.
When it was learned the Sands had incorrectly stated where the records were, Judge Gonzales had ordered the Sands to hand over the confidential documents. The 5-0 decision by the Nevada Supreme Court did not rest on whether the documents were relevent to the case or were held within their jurisdiction, but due to the lateness of the request for those files.
SEC and Justice Department Interested
Since it was learned that the records were being held in Las Vegas and not in Macau, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Justice Department have become interested in the case. According to multiple sources, investigators from the two federal agencies believe the case may involve violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
If the federal authorities become involved in the case, it’s not entirely certain who would be the ultimate target of their investigation. Since Steven Jacobs is accused of criminal activity in China and the Las Vegas Sands Corp. is accused of hiding documents related to the case, neither party in the lawsuit is likely to welcome closer scrutiny by the national authorities.
Montana Woman Pleads Guilty to Support Gambling Addiction
In an unrelated Montana criminal case, Sandra Marie Sanderville pleaded guilty last Thursday on charges of fraud and embezzlement of $300,000. Sanderville embezzled funds from a federal government program in order to support her gambling addiction.
Sandra Marie Sanderville was the director of the Blackfeet Indian Tribe’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program from 2006 until 2010. During that time, the program received $12 million from the federal government. Sanderville arranged to make overpayments to families which were receiving funds, then received a kickback from those families.
Sanderville used a number of different tactics to overpay the beneficiaries. In many cases, she would add extra children or grandchildren to the reports of the families, who would then be overpaid by the program. In other cases, she failed to remove people from the files, though that person no longer lived in the household.
The families then would pay Sanderville a kickback. According to court records, 16 to 20 different beneficiaries are thought to have paid off the director, who received approximately $300,000 in illegal money.
When the Blackfeet Tribe first began to investigate the missing money, Sanderville tried to delete records of her wrongdoing. With the help of a backup computer’s files, investigators were able to discover what had happened. Sanderville is said to have gambled away hundreds of dollars a week due to her problem gambling.