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California Businessman Faces up to Four Years in Prison for Unpaid Casino Marker

A California businessman, Harel Zahavi, was convicted last week of criminal charges in connection with unpaid casino markers. Zahavi accrued $384,000.00 in unpaid markers at four casinos, including The Venetian, Palazzo, Caesar's Palace and the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. At trial, Zahavi argued that the casinos engaged in predatory practices, claiming that he never intended to defraud the casinos and that the casinos knew he was in serious financial trouble at the time they extended the markers. Nevertheless, a jury convicted Zahavi under Nevada's bad check laws.

Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 205.130 defines the crime of passing a bad check to include unpaid casino markers: "A person who willfully, with an intent to defraud, draws or passes a check or draft to obtain . . . credit extended by any licensed gaming establishment . . . when the person has insufficient money, property or credit . . . to pay it in full upon its presentation, is guilty of a misdemeanor. If that instrument . . . is in the amount of $250 or more, the person is guilty of a category D felony . . ." The law PRESUMES an intent defraud if the marker is drawn on an account that does not exist or payment of the marker is refused upon presentation. NRS 205.132. In addition, prosecutors frequently file theft and fraud charges in unpaid casino marker cases.

An unpaid casino marker can happen to anyone and it can happen for a variety of reasons. In some circumstances, the person who takes out the marker has the money at the time of the transaction but later suffers unforeseen financial hardship. Other times, the person charged is cajoled into believing that the marker will not be cashed until they are able to pay, and then the casino changes course and deposits the marker unexpectedly.

An unpaid casino marker can have devastating results for the alleged debtor, both personally and professionally. Unpaid casino markers can result in felony convictions, large fines and possible prison time. They can also ruin your credit and damage your professional reputation.

Whatever the circumstances, if you or someone you know has been charged or contacted by a prosecutors offices in connection with an unpaid casino marker or if you are simply disputing a casino marker debt, it is important that you contact a Las Vegas Casino Marker Attorney immediately. The Las Vegas Casino Marker Attorney can help you by analyzing the facts of your case and determining appropriate defenses. The Las Vegas Casino Marker Lawyer can also assist you in reaching your litigation goal, whether that is a quick and quiet negotiation or the most aggressive trial strategy possible.