A woman who gambled at the Saratoga Casino Hotel in upstate New York on Feb. 15, 2021, says she was wrongly arrested and charged for a casino employee’s clerical error in redeeming her winning gaming vouchers.
Plaintiff Miranda Sanders, a business owner who runs a butcher shop in nearby Ballston Spa, says she told the casino’s cashier that the winnings she was issued that day were more than what she had actually won gambling on the casino’s slot-like video lottery terminals. But the cashier allegedly insisted that the payout was correct.
In court documents, Sanders says she was given about $850 more than she was legitimately due. After the casino cage worker said the payment was correct, Sanders left the casino but was later reached by another casino worker asking her to come back and repay the $850.
Sanders claims she returned to the Saratoga Casino on March 5, 2021, to speak with Edward Moore, the casino’s director of security. But after Moore didn’t show “after waiting some time,” Sanders, “a busy, small-business owner herself,” left the casino.
Subsequently, Ms. Sanders received additional and repeated calls from employees of the casino and/or Mr. Moore seeking the return of the money. The casino employees warned her that if she did not return the money, the matter would be turned over to the Saratoga Springs Police Department for arrest and prosecution,” Sanders’ attorneys explained of her good faith efforts to return the money.
Sanders subsequently retained an attorney who began preparing her legal defense.
In her criminal complaint against the Saratoga Casino, which additionally names the City of Saratoga as a defendant for its alleged failure to properly hire, train, supervise, and discipline law enforcement officers, Sanders says she was humiliated by the incident.
The Saratoga County District Attorney’s office told Saratoga Springs Police Officer Kristopher Camarro that prosecution wasn’t reasonable since Sanders made a good faith effort to return the money. But Sanders’ attorneys say Camarro regardless proceeded with an arrest warrant for a single charge of petit larceny.
Instead of being arrested, Sanders turned herself in to local police on Oct. 21, 2021. She was handcuffed, restrained, and detained for several hours in a holding cell before being released. A judge in Saratoga Springs City Court eventually dismissed the charge on Jan. 11, 2022.
$1M Compensation Sought
In her complaint, Sanders says the casino incident caused her multiple damages worthy of financial compensation. Sanders argues that she suffered injuries and damages from her loss of liberty during her detention, a traumatizing experience that has resulted in ongoing anxiety.
Sanders’ attorneys say while the media intensively covered her being charged, the local news outlets didn’t nearly as cover her charge being dismissed. The complaint says her local butcher shop “suffered reputational harm from the publicity of her false arrest, resulting in loss of revenue and reputational harm.”
Sanders is seeking compensatory damages “of not less than” $1 million dollars, plus legal and court fees.
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