The owner of an Eastchester credit card processing company has sued his sister and two other former employees, and the competitor they joined, for $10 million for allegedly stealing trade secrets.
“They used the confidential information that they stole from CPS to determine which of CPS’ clients were most profitable,” the complaint states, and “to focus their improper and illegal soliciting efforts … on behalf of Cardworks.”
Cardworks did not immediately respond to an email request for its side of the story.
The other defendants include Andrea Zaretsky of New Rochelle, the younger sister of CPS owner and President George Jathas, and Danielle Gizzo and Nicole Trombetta of Yonkers.
CPS processes payments to merchants on credit cards, debit cards and e-checks, such as American Express, Mastercard and Visa, and collects fees based on a percentage of sales.
The firm also had a deal with Signature Bank in which the bank referred potential clients to CPS for a fee and rebates.
Zaretsky was a vice president and was responsible for seeking new clients and maintaining CPS’ relationship with Signature Bank, according to the complaint. Gizzo and Trombetta also looked for new clients and worked with Signature.
All three had signed an agreement to protect the firm’s confidential information, the complaint states, and to not solicit CPS customers for four years after their employment ended.
Zaretsky and Gizzo resigned in June 2017 and nearly a year later went to work for Cardworks, according to the complaint.
But even before they left CPS, they allegedly downloaded the firm’s client list and pricing information to their personal computers.
CPS claims that Zaretsky asked Signature Bank to refer clients to Cardworks, and that Zaretsky and Gizzo targeted CPS clients for Cardworks.
CPS fired Trombetta in April 2019, after she allegedly emailed confidential information to her personal email account. She joined Cardworks, according to the complaint, and solicited CPS clients.
CPS claims it got about 36 referrals a month from Signature Bank, but after Zaretsky and Gizzo resigned, monthly referrals dropped to six, and since July 2018, to zero.
More than 150 clients have closed their accounts and signed up with Cardworks, according to the complaint, and monthly income has dropped by about $500,000.
CPS accuses the defendants of misappropriation, violation of the federal trade secrets act, breach of contract and interference with business relations.
CPS is represented by Manhattan attorneys Mark M. Rottenberg and C. Zachary Rosenberg.