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DraftKings employees have been accused of leaking personal information to a prominent sports bettor as part of an extortion plot, according to a complaint filed in New York.

The complaint, filed in Supreme Court, Queens County, detailed a physical altercation involving a masked man and the anonymous plaintiff, named as “John Doe”, on 30 March 2023 in Long Island City, New York City.

The altercation allegedly saw the man grab, violently spin around, and threaten to kill the plaintiff unless he paid $500,000 to Gadoon “Spanky” Kyrollos, a prominent sports betting influencer.

The filing alleged that unidentified staff in the “upper echelons” of DraftKings knowingly provided the plaintiff’s address, sensitive personal information, financial history, and betting history to Spanky.  

It also alleged that the same DraftKings employees later conspired to change the email address associated with the plaintiff’s sports betting account.

The complaint said: “Spanky and the masked man did not act alone… DraftKings loaded the proverbial gun, and put it in Spanky’s hand. [The] plaintiff’s life was never the same.

“This is a case about DraftKings — one of the biggest and most profitable sports betting companies in the world — knowingly and wilfully aiding and abetting a violent assault, battery, and death threat, (and later, a significant computer hack).”

The plaintiff is seeking damages for abetting assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence.

DraftKings slams ‘inaccurate and baseless’ allegations

DraftKings criticised the complaint in a statement provided to NEXT.io: “The complaint filed against DraftKings in March 2024 by an unnamed plaintiff is full of inaccuracies and baseless allegations.

“In the complaint, the plaintiff does not identify any DraftKings employee, but rather alleges on ‘information and belief’ that an unknown and unidentified DraftKings employee provided private account information to ‘Spanky’ and to additional unnamed third parties.

“DraftKings has found no evidence of anyone at DraftKings providing plaintiff’s information to a third-party, and DraftKings denies acknowledging any such ‘security breach’.

“Nor has DraftKings uncovered any improper activity by a DraftKings employee, or any activity on plaintiff’s account, relating to the allegedly unauthorised change of the email address associated with plaintiff’s DraftKings account. DraftKings is moving to dismiss the complaint by June 28.”

Complaint background

The complaint said the plaintiff was recruited by a DraftKings VIP host in January 2022 following the legalisation of sports betting in New York.

As part of the customer relationship, DraftKings is said to have gained access to the plaintiff’s personal information, banking history, and financial data.

The plaintiff allegedly began being extorted by Spanky in February 2023, who claimed he was owed hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The complaint said that the plaintiff and Spanky had never met, and only spoke together on the phone twice.

The filing also highlighted Spanky’s FBI indictment in 2012 for being involved in an illegal sports betting ring. The transcript of an NPR Planet Money podcast was also referenced, in which host Keith Romer pointed to a police wiretap.

Romer said: “[O]n the wiretap, McNally could hear Spanky calling up a guy connected to the mob. Spanky wanted to send in some muscle to try to get his money back.”

Towards the end of February 2023, the professional sports bettor allegedly informed the plaintiff that he had acquaintances in the “upper echelons” of DraftKings.

As a result of these alleged relationships, the filing said that Spanky would be able to access any and all information he wanted about the plaintiff.

After informing a DraftKings employee, extra security was placed on the plaintiff’s account and the VIP host assured the plaintiff that his data would not be leaked.

The complaint then said that in March 2023 one of Spanky’s associates, Oscar Jones, contacted the plaintiff and said they had obtained the plaintiff’s data.

Plaintiff receives death threat in alleged altercation

The physical altercation happened days later on 30 March 2023 at 8:45am at a subway platform in Long Island City, New York.

The man allegedly said to the plaintiff he “did not want to know what [the man] would do to [Plaintiff] if [the man] had to come back,” which the plaintiff understood to be a death threat.

The filing said the plaintiff reported the incident to the New York Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.

After reporting the incident to his DraftKings VIP host, the plaintiff said the host acknowledged the security breach, but said the investigation into the incident was a private internal matter.

The filing said the plaintiff’s life has not been the same since the altercation.

It said the plaintiff has been in a state of constant fear, including in his own home.

The filing states there is a video of the masked man waiting outside his apartment for three hours prior to the altercation.

The plaintiff is seeking punitive damages, compensatory damages no less than $1m, attorney fees, and judgement finding DraftKings liable for the claims made in the lawsuit.

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