Steve Wynn Acquittal Upheld by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Written By Aleeyah Jadavji on February 16, 2023
Appeals Court upholds dismissal of RICO case against Wynn.

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld the dismissal of a $1 million RICO lawsuit against Wynn Resorts and Steve Wynn.

The three-judge panel said the plaintiff couldn’t show how she was harmed. Furthermore, the judges said she did not have a suitable racketeering claim. The court’s ruling upheld an earlier decision by Judge Ronald S.W. Lew.

Former employee said she was blacklisted after reporting a rape

In 2005, a salon worker at Wynn Resorts said the founder raped her. Her supervisor, Angelica Limcaco, claimed she was intimidated into silence after reporting the incident. Both employees lost their jobs shortly after. Limcaco said the company blacklisted her from employment throughout Las Vegas.

Wynn denied assaulting anyone and claimed the accusations were false.

Limcaco filed a civil lawsuit in Nevada in 2018. But a judge dismissed it the following year. Judge Miranda Du ruled that the statute of limitations had passed. After that, Limcaco’s lawyers filed the California case. In the suit, Limcacoo’s legal team accused Wynn Resorts of donating to nonprofit legal organizations to influence Du.

They filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) lawsuit in December 2020. Lawyers claimed that Elayna Youchah, lead counsel for Wynn Las Vegas, was selected to replace the retiring magistrate judge in Limcaco’s case to get it dismissed.

Following the slew of accusations and lawsuits, Wynn stepped down as CEO of Wynn Resorts. He also sold his stake in the company.

Company had to pay $35M fine for withholding information on sex accusations

Over the years, several parties brought forward accusations of alleged sexual misconduct, but the company did not disclose them. A federal judge in Nevada ruled a case against the company could proceed since the board and executives withheld information. This violated the Securities and Exchange Commission rules on material misrepresentations and omissions.

As a result of the ruling, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission fined Wynn Resorts $35 million. Bay State regulators opted for the nine-figure fine instead of revoking the company’s casino license. Wynn Resorts opened Encore Boston Harbor a few months later. 

Fast forward to another matter that tied into oral arguments in the RICO case. It alleged that Wynn failed to register as a federal agent via the Foreign Agents Registration Act. 

He advised former President Donald Trump that the US should extradite a People’s Republic of China national, Guo Wengui. Since Wynn did not register as a federal agent, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against him. A judge dismissed the case, however. 

Despite ruling, the fight will continue

Despite the appeals court upholding the dismissal of the RICO case, Limcaco’s Los Angeles attorney Jordan Matthews said they will continue the fight.

“We are not deterred by the recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.”

Matthews said they plan to take the case to the US Supreme Court.

Photo by AP Photo / Charles Krupa
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Aleeyah Jadavji

Aleeyah hails from Toronto, Ontario in Canada and has been working predominantly in the poker industry since 2015. From writing articles, to interviewing big winners and live reporting on poker's biggest stages, she's seen it all. Aleeyah loves to cook and create content to showcase her passion for food and travel. She also loves sriracha, and doesn't trust anyone that believes it's not a top tier condiment.

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