Basketball fan repays Lake Delton restaurant for cable TV scam
An Illinois man who covertly altered a Lake Delton restaurant’s cable package so he could watch a basketball game while visiting the area will pay restitution and a fine, but won’t become a convicted felon.
The unusual case of 52-year-old Kevin M. Cayton – the finance manager of a car dealership – made national headlines after Sauk County prosecutors charged him in June with two felony charges, including identity theft and unauthorized use of an entity’s identifying information.
In December 2017, authorities said, Cayton, of Arlington Heights, Illinois, pretended to be a Buffalo Phil’s Grille employee in phone calls to the restaurant’s cable provider. He added the Pack-12 channel so he could watch an Arizona Wildcats basketball game during a trip to Lake Delton.
Police picked up on small details from the recorded conversations to identify Cayton as the culprit, and later traveled from Wisconsin to confront him at his workplace; the Howard Buick-GMC dealership in Elmhurst, Illinois.
As part of a deal with prosecutors this week, Cayton agreed to cut a $2,663 check to Buffalo Phil’s. He also paid a $387 fine.
Prosecutors dismissed one of the felonies, and amended the other to a misdemeanor charge of obstructing an officer. In exchange, Cayton pleaded no contest to the lesser charge.
Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Michael Screnock signed off on the deal Wednesday, finding Cayton guilty and ordering the payments.
The restitution includes “all additional cable fees incurred by the company” as well as the time and expense the restaurant incurred from the fallout of the case, according to court documents.
A document signed by Cayton, his attorney, and a prosecutor says the agreement is justified because Cayton has no prior criminal history, and because the restaurant’s main concern was recouping its losses related to the case.
“While what was done was reprehensible, this disposition will preserve the defendant’s clean criminal history, while serving as a means to recompense the victim, and also serve as a lasting memorialization… of his wrong-doing,” the agreement states.
The investigation began in February after a business manager at Buffalo Phil’s noticed a significant increase in the restaurant’s cable bill and contacted the Lake Delton Police Department.
According to the criminal complaint, police keyed in on several details in recordings they obtained from the cable company.
They overheard the caller say he wanted to watch an Arizona Wildcats basketball game later that week. At one point, they heard the caller step away from the phone and refer to himself as “Kevin.” And in one instance, they overheard someone in the background cosigning for a vehicle and talking about how they worked at a specific health care facility.
Investigators called the health care facility to ask if they had an employee who recently purchased a vehicle. A representative of the facility put police in contact with a female employee, who told investigators she bought a vehicle from the Howard Buick-GMC dealership.
Police learned that Cayton was the only dealership employee named “Kevin,” and traveled to Illinois to speak with him. But he declined to talk, the complaint states.
However, the complaint says Cayton made admissions to a coworker shortly after police left the dealership. Investigators learned about that by speaking with that coworker over the phone.
Police also found social media posts that indicated Cayton was an Arizona Wildcats fan, and placed him in the Lake Delton area at the time of the basketball game.