Man Convicted of Attempted Extortion of Gaming Companies
Las Vegas, Nev. – A truck driver who tried to get MGM Mirage and Harrah's Entertainment to pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for the return of confidential casino customer information, has been convicted of extortion and other felony offenses, announced Greg Brower, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Following a four-day jury trial, Jeff Greer, 49, of Parson, Tennessee, was found guilty on Thursday, October 23, 2008, of two counts of Interference With Commerce by Threats or Use of Fear and two count of Use of Interstate Facility in Aid of Racketeering Activity.
According to the court records and evidence introduced at trial, Greer was employed as a truck driver for French Trucking Company of Lexington, Tennessee. In March 2007, Greer was assigned to transport a load of paper refuse from Las Vegas, Nevada, to a Boise Cascade recycling mill in Jackson, Alabama. After unloading the truck at the mill in Alabama, Greer claimed to have noticed that some of the papers had been left in the "scuff band" of his truck trailer. Greer observed that the papers were documents from several casinos, including Harrah's and MGM Mirage, and that they contained sensitive information, such as customer names, casino player information, and various other casino and hotel operations records.
In April 2007, Greer contacted officials at Harrah's and MGM Mirage, and told them that he had access to vast amounts of highly confidential customer information. Greer told the officials that he would sell the information to casino competitors or the tabloid media, or otherwise publicly disclose it, unless they each gave him a 30-day consulting contract and paid him $250,000. Greer promised with the consulting contract he would tell the gaming properties how he obtained the information and how they could "fix the leak." Greer left the impression with the gaming company executives that he had infiltrated their computer system. Greer also provided the executives, by fax and telephone, with some of the information he had recovered, and told them to look at an advertisement he had placed on eBay which stated that he was auctioning "gaming family jewels," with a $100,000 starting bid. Upon realizing they were being extorted, and to effectively and quickly deal with the possible compromise of confidential information, both Harrah's and MGM Mirage contacted the FBI and asked if they could investigate the extortion and assist with the recovery of the gaming properties' confidential information.
Following several conversations with the gaming company executives, on May 9, 2007, Harrah's executives agreed to meet Greer at Harrah's corporate offices in Cordova, Tennessee. FBI agents posing as Harrah's employees accompanied the executives to the meeting, which was secretly recorded and filmed. The executives and undercover agents retrieved documents from Greer and provided him a bogus check for $250,000. Greer was arrested by FBI Agents as he exited the meeting. He was indicted in the District of Nevada in June 2007.
The FBI and Harrah's and MGM Mirage's investigative staffs were able to locate and arrest Greer and obtain the confidential information in his possession before Greer was able to make any dissemination of the information. Subsequent investigation determined that the Las Vegas recycling plant with which Harrah's and MGM Mirage had contracted to shred their documents had somehow failed to shred documents that ended up in the load on Greer's truck.
Greer is scheduled to be sentenced on January 30, 2009. He faces up to 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine on each count of Interference With Commerce By Threat and Use of Fear and up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each Use of Interstate Facility in Aid of Racketeering count. He is released on bond pending sentencing.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Eric Johnson.