Vegas Ad Exec Accused of Using Casino Cash to Tout Novel

1001 Las Vegas Nights - Andjelika Martin Adwords Scam

Andjelika Martin is accused of using $400,000 of casino cash over a several-year period to tout “1,001 Las Vegas Nights”.

Andjelika Martin, a 46-year old former Las Vegas casino executive, is being accused by prosecuters of using $400,000 in hotel adverstising cash to promote her romance novel. The former Hard Rock Hotel and M Resort web marketing executive authored a book titled “1,001 Las Vegas Nights”.

At the time she was promoting her romance novel, Andjelika Martin was the web marketing and development director for Hard Rock Hotel, owned by Warner Gaming, and M Resort, owned by Penn National Gaming. Martin stands accused of funneling ad dollars from those Las Vegas resorts’ web marketing budgets to publicize her own novel.

Andjelika Martin’s pen name is Angelique St. Chase Jr., so her authorship had a thin veil of anonymity. Of course, auditors at the casino companies were all-but-certain to notice promotion of a romance novel in their budget.

4-Year Scam Using Google Adwords Ads

The deception appears to have worked for approximately four years before Ms. Martin’s ploy was discovered. Now she faces 8 counts of theft and 2 counts of forgery. Each theft count carries with its a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, while each forgery count brings with it a maximum of a 4-year jail sentence. Thus, Martin faces up to 88 years in prison.

In court this week, Andjelika Martin pleaded not guilty to the charges. Bryan Cox, Martin’s attorney, pointed out the unorthodox nature of the case in court this week. Cox told the judge, “This is a unique set of allegations, because it doesn’t involve theft of money. It involves the allegation of theft of advertising purchased on the Internet.”

“1,001 Las Vegas Nights”

Amazon lists the publication date of “1,001 Las Vegas Nights” as November 2, 2015, but prosecutors say they have evidence the casino accounts were used to promote the novel as early as November 2013. Using Google Ads to promote the book, “1,001 Las Vegas Nights” cracked Amazon’s list of Top 500 romance novels by November 2015, according to entertainment columnist Robin Leach.

Martin’s book appeared to be a boilerplate romance novel, though it certainly would have risen through the Amazon ranks with the use of hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising behind it. A quote from the book appeared in online ads, presumably delivered by a character from the novel named ‘Ken’: “You may be every man’s fantasy, but to me…you just might be every best part of every dream I have ever had.”

Prosecutors claim Andjelika Martin spent nearly $100,000 a year of the casino’s advertising dollars to bid on words like “steamy” and phrases like “shades of gray 50” to help put her book near the top of Google searches, according to the indictment and grand jury testimony. When buying advertisements on Google Adwords, the highest bidders appear more prominently when users of the Google search button type in words to the search engine.

Google Adwords Manipulation

The damning piece of evidence against Martin is the fact she was the only person with access to the advertising account which purchased Google Adwords, according to testimony made by Cortney Clardy, an M Resort marketing executive, before a Las Vegas grand jury.

Karen Mishler, a Las Vegas prosecutor, asked Cortney Clardy what kind of words a casino executive normally would purchase from Google Adwords. Clardy said, “Sample words would be ‘hotel,’ ‘Las Vegas hotel,’ ‘luxury,’ ‘Henderson,’ ‘wine seller,’ things that attribute to the property itself.”

When Mishler asked, “So things like ‘steamy,’ not typically one of the key words,” Ms. Clardy replied, “Nope.

“Sometimes Heartbreaking Life”

Prosecutors claims Andejelika Martin stole $400,000 from the casinos’ advertising budget buying the wrong kind of search engine words and phrases for their business. They also claim she stole nearly $100,000 a year on Google Adwords buys, so it appears that she was able to scam her employers for four years before their accountants noticed the deception.

In promotional material for the book, Angelique St. Chase Jr. describes herself as a Las Vegas insider. The book’s website describes Angelique St. Chase Jr. in this way: “Knowing first-hand about the alluring, if sometimes heartbreaking life, that Las Vegas and online romance has to offer, she takes delight in being the book’s cover model, going to celebrity chef restaurants, and speaking 7 languages.”