1,001 Vegas Nights, a book whose title is an apparent takeoff of the classic One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, is a romance novel detailing the lustier side of life for Sin City casino executive “Pandora.”
But for 46-year-old self-published romance novel writer Andjelika Martin, most of the steam seems to be coming from the hot water she has landed in, stemming from charges now made against her of two counts of forgery and eight counts of theft.
Martin stands accused of directing almost $400,000 of the M Resort and Casino‘s marketing budget towards promoting her self-published “gourmet romance novel.”
“‘I have to admit that I am still a bit stunned as to why a successful, independent, beautiful, single woman winds up online looking for a Friend-With-Benefits,’ he said as he sliced a piece of cheese and put it confidently on a water cracker.” – Excerpt from “1,001 Vegas Nights”
“Angelique St. Chase Jr.” was Martin’s pen name on the book, which detailed the heroine’s fast-paced and frequent sexual encounters.
But the only encounter Martin faced this week was with a Las Vegas judge. The charges against her could give the author some serious prison time, as each of the eight counts of theft carry possible 10-year sentences, along with fines and restitution, while the two counts of forgery each carry a maximum of four years in lockup, plus fines and possible restitution.
$100,000-a-Year Adwords Habit
The prosecution alleges that beginning in September 2013, Martin — who had worked in web marketing and development for both the M and Hard Rock Las Vegas casinos — blew $100K a year in casino advertising money on Google Adwords and search engine optimization (SEO) to propel her book into Amazon’s top 500 romance novels, a goal which it took her two years to achieve.
In November 2015, she was interviewed by celebrity reporter Robin Leach for the Las Vegas Sun, under her pseudonym. Leach described the book as a “sizzling 294-page-burner” that will have readers “guessing [at] her identity.”
“When you look the way I do, it’s really, really hard not to get propositioned,” Martin insisted, although marketing event photos from 2015 show a plump and somewhat disheveled presenter. But “St. Chase” told a fawning Leach in the interview that she had disguised her identity to prevent people from being “scandalized.”
Self-Funding for Fun and Profit
But according to the prosecution, the real scandal involved Martin’s status as the sole employee with access to M Resort’s Google Adwords account. She allegedly used search terms like “steamy” and “shades of gray 50” to boost a book that was unlikely to reach the top on its literary merits alone.
“August 2nd is the first date of several that will live in infamy in my mind. It was the day he first contacted me. I had no idea then that this would be my own personal Pearl Harbor of emotional invasions until the damage had already been done and assessed months later.” – Excerpt from “1001 Vegas Nights”
An M Resorts marketing executive testified that he failed to recognize these keywords as being part of the casino’s overall SEO strategy, while Martin’s attorney Bryan Cox made an unusual case for his client’s actions.
“This is a unique set of allegations, because it doesn’t involve theft of money,” said Cox, as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “It involves the allegation of theft of advertising purchased on the internet.”
Martin has pleaded not guilty to the charges.