Lawsuit: DraftKings Leak Of NY Bettor Info Allegedly Leads To Assault

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A Long Island City man accused DraftKings of leaking his personal information that led to him being assaulted and threatened.

The John Doe plaintiff said in March 2023, a man “grabbed him, violently spun him around, and threatened to kill him” if he didn’t pay $500,000 to Gadoon Kyrollos, a professional sports bettor known as Spanky.

The lawsuit alleges DraftKings knowingly provided the VIP bettor’s information and “loaded the proverbial gun” for the assault. That happened despite the plaintiff allegedly warning the company about the information being in jeopardy and being told enhanced security was applied to his account.

The plaintiff wishes to remain anonymous because he has concerns about the death threat.

DraftKings response to lawsuit

DraftKings issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying it is moving to dismiss the suit:

“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 unauthorized change of the email address associated with plaintiff’s DraftKings account. 

“DraftKings is moving to dismiss the complaint by June 28.”

Report: Plaintiff is attorney

The John Doe in the lawsuit could reportedly be the filing attorney, Steven Jacobs, according to SBC Americas.

Jacobs was sued by a man named Oscar Jones, who is also involved in this situation, in April 2023. Jones alleges that Jacobs defrauded him out of almost $500,000 concerning a betting scheme with DraftKings where Jones fronted the funds and the two split the profits.

Jacobs told Jones that DraftKings account was suspended and could not pay out without signing paperwork he was reportedly unwilling to sign.

Plaintiff suing for damages

The plaintiff filed the lawsuit “to put a stop to DraftKings’ campaign of harassment and to recover for the physical, mental and severe emotional damages he has sustained, as well as to seek punitive damages for DraftKings’ malicious, willful and wanton behavior,” according to the filing.

Compensatory damages should be no less than $1 million, the lawsuit says. Punitive damages, interest and attorney’s fees are also requested.

The suit explains DraftKings is trusted by customers because of its “sheen of legitimacy as a licensed sportsbook.” The plaintiff “would have never dreamed that DraftKings would willfully conspire with a dangerous man with an ax to grind,” it added.

A video of the alleged assault shows the attacker waiting outside the plaintiff’s apartment for about three hours before the attack.

Afraid for his life

The plaintiff’s life has “not been the same” since the death threat, the lawsuit alleges. He lives in a constant state of fear, even at home, and no longer enjoys life in New York the same way.

The plaintiff was advised by police to not go outside alone at night or to remote areas, and to use alternate entrances and exits at home and work. He should also vary his schedule to throw potential attackers off and stay aware about his surroundings.

The plaintiff is still suffering “severe emotional distress,” has trouble sleeping and is “terrified” whenever there is a knock at the door.

VIP DraftKings bettor had host

Shortly after online sports betting launched in January 2022, the plaintiff was approached by a VIP host named Joe Di Chiaro.

The bettor was allegedly offered VIP perks and bonuses which “induced Plaintiff to play substantial volume. Di Chiaro acted as the bettor’s “sole point of contact” with the company with the plaintiff saying their one-year relationship resembled friendship.

The two regularly spoke on the phone and in-person at various VIP events in New York, according to the filing. It was Di Chiaro that the plaintiff went to about his information being in jeopardy.

Alleged extortion begins

Around February 2023, Spanky allegedly began extorting the plaintiff, demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars. The two had never met in-person and only spoke twice on the phone before that, the suit said.

The filing says Spanky felt entitled to the funds in the bettors’ DraftKings account, though the suit does not make clear why. Spanky reportedly told the plaintiff he knew people in the “upper echelon” of DraftKings and would get the information he needed at an upcoming conference in Boston.

Spanky’s associate Jones then contacted the plaintiff in March 2023. It was “abundantly clear” that Jones had obtained the personal information from DraftKings, the filing says.

Days later, the John Doe was assaulted by a man that said he was sent by Spanky and Jones. He was warned to pay what he owed and threatened worse would happen if he had to return.

DraftKings would not say how info leaked

Di Chiaro allegedly acknowledged and “spoke sympathetically” about the security breach at DraftKings but would not explain how it happened. He explained the investigation regarding “information that it provided to Spanky was a private internal matter.”

An email from DraftKings support eventually stated the company received a request to change the account’s email address early on Oct. 2, but there was not a clear reason why that request was granted.

That suggests either the information was changed internally for a “bad actor” or the company neglected its procedure of changing registered information, the lawsuit said. To change an account’s email, DraftKings requires an email from the current registered address or a photo of the customer holding their photo ID to be uploaded.

VIP status revoked

Amid repeatedly asking for information on how the request to change the email was granted, the plaintiff was told he was no longer considered a VIP. The lawsuit claims that was to end the discussions with the hosts concerning the information change.

“Upon information and belief, DraftKings knowingly and willfully collaborated with Spanky and his associates in a year-long deliberate and malicious campaign of harassment and intimidation against Plaintiff, as set forth above.

“… The campaign of harassment against Plaintiff has worked, as Plaintiff has been terrified for his safety ever since the Death Threat.”

Photo by Shutterstock/Sornram Yamtanom