The hacker behind the destabilization of plans by Shinnecock Nation Tribe to one day build a multi-million casino in New York, has finally been sentenced, almost eight years after the incident. During the trial, Steven Santarpia, a former private investigator, pleaded guilty of hacking the personal computer of Charles Randall to get copies of his personal emails.
Details of who hired him to do the hack or reasons behind this did not come out clearly during the trial, but more views are of the opinion that he was probably sent. The hacking happened a few months after the tribe announced its intentions to build a world-class casino in Southampton.
The tribe had announced it was going to be partnering with Gateway Casino Resorts, which had provided financial support to the tribe during its long battle for recognition in the state. The Detroit-based integrated casino hoped the tribe would reward their support by giving them a huge percentage of the shares at the casino.
Being that the proposed casino was to be located a few meters from New York City, it had the potential to grow into one of the most profitable casinos in America. However, some of the members of the tribe felt that the stake Gateway would be holding at the proposed project would be too much. According to one article appearing in Casino.org news listing, this caused Randall, along with two more members of the tribe and two defiant members of the gaming authority, to seek approval for an alternative project.
They proposed to build a casino, hotel and entertainment complex at the Nassau Coliseum. The gaming authority, which strongly supported Gateway was not happy with Randall’s move. This triggered a series of events that Randall felt were fashioned against him and his team. In mid-2013, the FBI stormed the gaming authority offices and seized several documents and computers.
The raid was carried out after the FBI found out that someone from the offices had illegally assessed Randall’s computer and copied the emails with information regarding the Nassau Coliseum proposal.
Six months after the incident, the offices went up in flames, destroying lots of files that had not been seized during the raid. Though the incident was officially ruled as arson, not a single soul was apprehended in connection to the incident, something that has raised lots of questions on what the police are for.
Several years later, in December 2017, a member of the gaming authority, Karen Hunter was arrested in connection to the hack. She was arraigned in court and sentenced to three years’ probation. Despite this, Randall and his team had already been removed from office, on accusations of using the tribe for personal gain. Even after Santarpia was sentenced, Randall said he did not feel as though any justice had been served.
There have been rumors that Shinnecock Nation might have another project planned. It is said they have partnered with Jack Morris, Hard Rock owner on a possible future project.