A Canadian man owes two Las Vegas casinos $12.9 million in unpaid debts, one of the biggest casino debt cases in Nevada history.
Semion Kronenfeld, a Toronto real estate businessman, owes The Venetian resort $7.9 million and Green Valley Ranch resort $5 million from 2009. On Wednesday, a grand jury charged him with felony theft, bad cheques and obtaining money under false pretenses, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports.
Kronenfeld claims he lost everything when the real estate market crashed in 2009 and could not repay his gambling markers, court documents show.
The markers, or IOUs by casinos, are considered to be similar to bad cheques in Nevada.
A number of casinos went after Kronenfeld for the money he owed them in 2009. Later that year, he filed for bankruptcy in Canada, and in legal proceedings in the U.S. he asked for relief from having to pay the debts, blaming the casinos in part for the debt.
"I was treated as a VIP at American and Canadian casinos. I was provided markers and always repaid them," Kronenfeld said in court documents in 2009. "This treatment led to a gambling addiction which I suffer from even today and am currently in treatment."
Jake Merback, a prosecutor with the Clark County district attorney's bad check unit, told The Associated Press that Kronenfeld whereabouts is currently unknown.