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July 26, 2021

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Caesars Entertainment sues man over $140,247 gambling debt

Caesars Entertainment Corp. of Las Vegas is suing another bankrupt customer, charging he signed gambling markers at four casinos totaling $140,247 that turned out to be worthless.

The complaint was filed this month in the California bankruptcy case of Du Chan Trinh of San Diego, who filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in that city Oct. 12.

An attorney for Caesars charged in the complaint that Trinh had signed the markers -- check-like negotiable instruments -- to gamble in Las Vegas at Caesars' properties the Rio, Planet Hollywood and Paris Las Vegas; and at Harrah's Rincon Casino & Resort in Valley Center, Calif., in the San Diego area.

The complaint says the markers were signed between June 26 and Sept. 10, but were later returned unpaid by banks including Guaranty Bank in Westminster, Calif., and GBC International Bank in Monterey Park, Calif., with the checks marked "account closed."

Caesars, in its complaint, asked the bankruptcy court not to cancel the gambling debts so it can get paid.

The complaint says Trinh's actions were "willful, malicious and intentional."

Caesars charged Trinh signed gaming markers that were "worthless" as Trinh either wrongly closed the bank accounts or did not have enough funds in the accounts to cover the gambling debts.

An attorney for Trinh said he was unable to comment on the allegations.

Trinh's bankruptcy filing listed assets of about $400,000 against liabilities of about $781,000.

Besides what's owed to the Caesars properties, debts listed in the filing included $30,000 owed to Barona Resort & Casino in Lakeside, Calif., and $24,000 to the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Calif.

Trinh listed his occupation as "accounts payable and treasurer" of ABC Supermarket in Westminster, while his spouse has a business in San Diego called University Square Fashions. Their average monthly income after payroll deductions is $2,762, the filing says.

Despite that modest income, Trinh in his filing reported extensive gambling net losses including more than $48,000 at Barona casino in 2008, more than $333,000 there in 2009 and more than $125,000 there in 2010.

Net losses to the Caesars' casinos in 2008 totaled more than $218,000. Those included losses at Bally's, Caesars Palace and the Flamingo in Las Vegas.

Another $159,000-plus was lost at Caesars' properties in 2009, the filing said.

The filing listed losses at Pechanga of more than $24,000 in 2008, more than $68,000 in 2009 and more than $28,000 in 2010.

As for his job at ABC Supermarket, the filing said Trinh had sold his ownership stake in the parent company of the market to pay off gambling debts.

"Debtor at one point had 3/38 interest in Dong Phuong Inc; however due to debtor's prior gambling activities, debtor had sold all remaining shares in Dong Phuong Inc. in order to fund the prior gambling and repayment of various gambling debts," the bankruptcy petition said.

Caesars' filing against Trinh follows its filing of a similar complaint against bankrupt Beverly Hills millionaire Leonard M. Ross over an alleged $500,000 in dishonored gambling markers.

Separately, Illinois bankruptcy judge John Squires has reversed default judgments that had been entered against Caesars' properties the Rio and Harrah's Las Vegas of $471,250 and $30,250, respectively, in the bankruptcy case of Equipment Acquisition Resources Inc.

The liquidating administrator of bankrupt Equipment Acquisition Resources (EAR) of Palatine, Ill., had sued several Las Vegas hotel-casinos.

The administrator of EAR charged in the complaints that EAR collapsed in 2009 after operating as a fraudulent scheme defrauding creditors.

The administrator said in the lawsuits that the company sent millions of dollars to the casinos to cover the personal gambling debts of EAR executives -- and in his lawsuits he demanded return of the funds.

One of the administrator's arguments was that the bankrupt company received nothing of value in return for the payments -- making the payments voidable under bankruptcy law.

Two of the casinos sued, Wynn Las Vegas and the Luxor, have disputed that.

Wynn was paid $1.785 million by EAR and MGM Resorts International's Luxor was paid $236,500, bankruptcy court filings say.

Attorneys for Wynn and the Luxor said the funds were compensation by the company to the executives and that the executives had directed their compensation be paid directly to the casinos.

Defaults were entered against the Rio and Harrah's after Caesars' attorneys missed a deadline to respond to the complaints.

But Squires on Thursday set aside the defaults after Caesars attorneys said their failure to respond in time was caused by delays in receiving paperwork in the case. EAR's administrator did not oppose the motion that the defaults be set aside.

With the defaults set aside, Caesars can now contest the lawsuits.

"Rio has a meritorious defense," attorneys for Caesars argued in a motion that the default be reversed in the Rio case. "It is black-letter law that a casino provides 'reasonably equivalent value' when it gives a debtor the opportunity to gamble and potentially win more money."

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