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Woman charged after allegedly threatening lives of Caesars Entertainment lawyers

Updated November 21, 2019 - 3:54 pm

A Las Vegas woman faces charges in connection with threatening letters mailed to her mother’s former supervisor at Planet Hollywood Resort and to attorneys representing the resort’s parent company.

Latonia Smith, 25, was indicted Wednesday on five counts of mailing threatening communications. According to court records, threatening letters were sent to her mother’s former supervisor and to attorneys defending a lawsuit against Caesars Entertainment Corp., Planet Hollywood’s parent company, between Sept. 30, 2018, and Oct. 1, 2019.

Smith said in the letters that her mother, Annecer Peruzar, was fired because of her supervisor’s racial bias, according to court records. The supervisor, Samantha Radak, said she fired Peruzar in 2017 “for allegedly taking change from a customer while cleaning the customer’s room,” the records show.

Radak told police in September 2018 that, beginning in December 2017, she received three threatening Facebook messages and three threatening letters that she believed came from Smith. Court records show that the Facebook messages came from three different profiles, but the first one started with, “I have to say you fired my mom in the most blatant discriminatory act.”

Smith, under the pseudonym “Medina Sinclair,” said in the first message that her mother “would never jeopardize her job over a tip that you can’t even buy a Coke with,” according to court records. In another message, sent from a profile with the name “Aus Riley,” she said her mother lost her job because she was accused of stealing $1.

“Your racist ego is the only thing that drives your thought processes because everyone else outside your little ‘Hitler’ circle knows YOU ARE WRONG,” the message from Riley said. “We won’t tolerate hate and we’ll make sure there’s no place in our society for you animals.”

None of the other letters referenced Smith’s mother, but they were all filled with similar threats. They addressed racism, saying that those responsible for her mom’s firing needed to re-evaluate their actions and fix their ways, or, according to one letter from August 2018, “you will all die.”

‘Added to the hit list’

In November 2018, Peruzar filed a lawsuit against Caesars Entertainment, accusing the company of intentional tort, employer defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress, according to court records. Caesars hired Fennemore Craig law firm to defend it.

Smith filed two lawsuits this spring: one against Caesars and one against Fennemore Craig. After the lawsuits were filed, employees at the law firm began receiving letters similar to the ones Radak reported, court records show.

The letters told the employees that they were “added to the hit list” and that the author of the letters was “not a killer but don’t push it.” One letter also congratulated its recipient on her recent wedding, saying, “hopefully you’ll be around for many years to enjoy it.”

Halloween encounter

According to court records, a letter sent to two Fennemore Craig employees and another person said, “Your throat will be slit you will be recorded as the blood spills from your neck and just as you gasp to take your final undeserving breath three bullets will be placed right through your skull.”

Six people told police that they believe they received letters from Smith: Radak, four employees of Fennemore Craig, and the wife of another Fennemore Craig employee.

Each printed letter was sent in an envelope that had been addressed with a cut-out piece of paper attached to the front. Most had return addresses referencing the Democratic National Convention, at least one with the hashtags “Resistance” and “Hatewillnotwin,” court records show.

Police said the timeline in which the letters were sent, the uniform way they were addressed and Smith’s relation to Peruzar were enough evidence to show that Smith probably sent the letters, according to court records.

Smith also was accused of carrying and using a gun in relation to a crime of violence after she showed up at a Fennemore Craig attorney’s apartment on Oct. 31, 2019. The indictment does not include a charge related to that allegation.

Attorney Wade Beavers told police he heard a knock on his door that night and, because it was Halloween, assumed it was a trick-or-treater. When he opened the door, according to court records, he saw Smith standing there with what he described as a matte black semi-automatic handgun.

He told police that Smith forced her way into the apartment and said they needed to talk, but he lunged toward her and tried to grab the gun, court records show. He was unable to get the gun but ran out of the apartment and knocked on doors until a neighbor let him use a phone to dial 911.

When police arrived, Smith was gone, according to court records. Requests for comment from Smith’s attorney were not returned.

Smith’s next court appearance is set for Nov. 27.

Contact Alexis Egeland at aegeland@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0335. Follow @alexis_egeland on Twitter.

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