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Frances McCabe

Former NBA star pleads guilty to debt charge in Vegas

29 June 2011

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Pro-basketball player Antoine Walker pleaded guilty Tuesday to one felony count of passing a bad check stemming from his failure to repay about $1 million in gambling debts he owed to three Las Vegas casinos.

A sentencing date for Walker, who did not appear in court, was scheduled for Nov. 1 before Judge Valorie Vega.

The 34-year-old faces probation or one to four years in prison. Prosecutor Sam Bateman said he is not seeking prison time as long as Walker pays back the $750,000 he still owes.

As part of the negotiations, prosecutors dropped two other counts of passing bad checks.

Authorities allege that between July 2008 and January 2009 Walker was given $1 million in markers from Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino and Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa and failed to pay them back, according to court records.

Under state law, an unpaid marker is treated as a bad check, which allows the district attorney's office to prosecute.

Walker last year filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation, scuttling a promise he made in 2009 to a Las Vegas justice of the peace to pay restitution to the casinos, plus court fees and penalties to the district attorney's office.

His bankruptcy filing reported $12.7 million in liabilities and $4.3 million in assets, including his championship ring.

Walker played for four different NBA teams during his 13 seasons in the league and helped the Miami Heat win a championship in 2006. He has not played in the league since 2008.

Walker most recently played basketball in a professional league in Puerto Rico.