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Charged with Bad Checks in a Las Vegas Casino?

Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys who truly care.

Las Vegas Casino Marker Lawyer

man holding casino chips

Las Vegas Casino Marker Defense Lawyers

Issuing, or “passing,” a check or casino marker for an amount of money you do not have in the bank when payment is due is considered fraud under Nevada law (NRS 205.130).

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Passing bad checks or casino markers can result in thousands of dollars in fines, in addition to restitution, and potentially up to 4 years in prison. In most cases, the casino or other business or person who received a bad check or marker really just wants to be paid. If you cannot immediately pay off a debt, you should obtain legal assistance as soon as possible after being accused of passing a worthless check or bad casino marker. Contact a knowledgeable casino marker lawyer at Adras & Altig for a free case review. We can help you address the accusations and negotiate a proposed payment plan with the goal of avoiding prosecution.

What Happens if You Write a Bad Check at a Casino?

Make no mistake, though, Clark County prosecutors will side with Las Vegas casinos and businesses when contacted about bad checks or markers. Prosecutors will go after payment and file criminal charges against those who commit what is legally a form of fraud and often amounts to a felony. That’s why you need a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side who has experience handling these types of cases.

The seasoned Las Vegas casino marker defense attorneys of Adras & Altig recognize that good people sometimes have financial problems. Our law firm represents clients with an open mind regarding their situation and works toward finding a satisfactory and expedient solution to their legal problems.

Call today for a free legal consultation if you cannot pay off an outstanding check or casino marker in Las Vegas.

How a Casino Marker Attorney Can Help

It costs a casino or any business money to pursue a bad check or marker. Very small debts may be written off. But each casino, hotel, or other Las Vegas business has its own rules about what size of debt cannot be ignored. Many have zero-tolerance policies.

Still, a casino won’t turn to the district attorney’s office unless the gambler will not respond to demands, negotiate payment, or cannot be found. However, once a bad check or casino marker is referred to the DA’s Bad Check Diversion Unit, it is treated like any other criminal case. Fortunately, as with other nonviolent crimes, the Clark County DA’s office will typically offer individuals with no serious criminal background an opportunity to make things right.

At Adras & Altig, our respected criminal defense attorneys regularly work with members of the Bad Check Diversion Unit and casinos to help our clients negotiate payment plans and avoid prosecution.

Such deals usually require agreeing to:

  • Make full restitution
  • Pay administrative fees
  • Attend an educational program about responsible check-writing and budgeting, as well as the legal consequences of repeated criminal conduct

Obtaining such a plea deal requires a showing of good faith. Coming forward with a defense attorney, ready to work things out on your behalf, greatly contributes to showing that.

It is a mistake to hide from a bad check or casino marker and hope the business you owe will give up and go away. In addition to a damaged credit record, you are likely to be prosecuted and wind up with a criminal record, as well as the costly penalties that go with it immediately and in the future.

Let the Las Vegas casino marker defense lawyers at Adras & Altig help you come up with a strategy to put this situation behind you and move forward with your life. When the evidence supports it, such as if someone else is responsible for debt falsely assumed under your name, our attorneys can also demand that the charges be dismissed.

How Do Casino Markers Work in Las Vegas?

Casinos in Las Vegas extend credit to gamblers through “markers,” which essentially work like bank checks or IOUs. Casinos issue markers upon request if the gambler can demonstrate his or her ability to repay the debt.

A first marker requires an application that allows the casino to check the gambler’s bank accounts, as with any line of credit or loan. If approved, the casino establishes a line of interest-free credit. A marker is a counter check the gambler can fill out against the line of credit.

Problems may arise because a large line of credit has been allowed, and pit bosses at gaming tables or casino hosts can approve additional markers. It is not at all unusual for a Las Vegas gambler to get in over his or her head.

After a specified period, such as 30 days, the amount of money on the marker(s) is due to be repaid from the gambler’s designated checking account. The hotel or casino will submit the marker(s) to the bank, like a check.

When a marker is returned due to insufficient funds — or “bounces” — the casino will send a demand letter providing a short time to pay what’s owed. If the debt is not settled, the casino’s next step is to contact the Clark County District Attorney’s Office Bad Check Diversion Unit, which prosecutes bad check/casino marker fraud.

It is also possible for the casino to file a civil suit in addition to pursuing criminal charges. This is more likely in cases of large debts assumed by high rollers who have extensive assets.

Presumption of Guilt in Bad Check / Casino Marker Cases

We all know that a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. However, courts in Nevada have said that’s not necessarily the case if you have passed a bad check or casino marker.

Under Nevada law (NRS 205.132), when a person issues a check or casino marker without sufficient money to pay it, there is a presumption of intent to defraud if:

  • Payment is refused by the bank, and the individual does not pay within 5 days of being notified that the bank refused the marker or check
  • The account the money was to come from does not exist
  • A demand letter sent by registered or certified mail is returned

This makes it extremely difficult to win if the district attorney’s office decides to prosecute a person responsible for a bad check or casino marker. The DA only needs to show that payment wasn’t made.

Penalties for a Bad Check / Unpaid Casino Marker

Under Nevada law (NRS 205.130), issuing a check or obtaining credit extended by any licensed gaming establishment without sufficient money to pay may be penalized by:

  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • A fine up to $1,000
  • Payment of restitution

For a check or casino marker worth $650 or more, or a fourth offense, it is a Category D felony, allowing:

  • Up to 4 years in prison
  • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • Payment of restitution

In addition to the above, the district attorney’s office will collect an administrative fee based on the value of the bad check or marker:

  • Up to $100 — $25
  • $100.01-$300 — $50
  • $300.01-$1,000 — $75
  • $1,000.01-$2,500 — $150
  • $2,500.01-$10,000 — $500
  • $10,000.01+ — 10 percent of the face amount of the check or marker

Although prosecutors will absolutely seek a guilty verdict, in most cases, the casino or business holding the bad debt is far more interested in being paid than it is in putting someone in jail. A knowledgeable Las Vegas bad check defense attorney from Adras & Altig can help you craft a plan to make things right.

Ready to Clear Up a Bad Check or Casino Marker?

It’s easy to get in over your head while gambling in Las Vegas or to get behind with bills and have a casino marker or check bounce. The mistake is to not deal with a bad check or casino marker immediately and forthrightly. If you have outstanding checks or markers that you will not be able to pay, contact a casino marker lawyer from Adras & Altig for help now.

Our Las Vegas casino marker defense attorneys can negotiate with the Clark County DA’s office on your behalf to try to keep a debt from becoming a criminal case.

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