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Suspect faces charges related to ‘forgery lab’ inside Strip hotel room

A five-time convicted felon is facing new charges after the discovery of a “forgery lab” in a Strip hotel with card printers, blank checks, stolen credit cards and other materials allegedly used to manufacture financial instruments.

Michael Was, 44, was arrested Aug. 11 at the Mandalay Bay after hotel security notified the Metropolitan Police Department about finding what appeared to be a financial forgery lab and illegal drugs inside two adjoined rooms in the Delano Las Vegas, police said in a report.

Hotel security officers were alerted that day when the credit card on file to reserve the rooms did not match Was’ identity. When they entered the rooms they saw card printers, dozens of IDs and credit cards in the names of other people, pills, syringes and some methamphetamine, police said.

While security waited for police to arrive, Was showed up carrying a laptop bag and complained that he was locked out of his room. Based on the evidence of alleged fraudulent activity, hotel officers detained him, according to police.

Hotel security confiscated a firearm the man carried, and inside the laptop bag they found a fake Nevada driver’s license, Nevada and Florida licenses belonging to others, other people’s credit cards, bank checks in the name of Was and others, a notebook listing personal identifying information of various people, an electronic credit card reader and two counterfeit post office keys.

When detectives from the department’s financial crimes section got there, one of them recognized Was from other related criminal cases the detective had worked on, based on the report.

Was has prior felony convictions in Nevada in 2008 for burglary and in 2016 for establishing or possessing a financial forgery lab, forgery of a credit or debit card, theft and forgery, according to police.

From the items found in Was’ room and bag, detectives requested and received a search warrant, had Was arrested on suspicion of a prohibited person possessing a firearm and possession of a controlled substance and booked into the Clark County Detention Center.

In one room detectives located another person’s California driver’s license, prescription medication for Was, a W-2G IRS tax form for reporting gambling winnings and several hypodermic needles.

In the second room they found suspected financial forgery lab materials, including an embosser, two printers, blank check stock, checks in other people’s names, several passports in other people’s names, 12 forged or counterfeit credit cards, magnetic ink, paper cutters, card laminating sheets and an ID card printer.

In Justice Court, Was faces charges of establishing or possessing a financial forgery laboratory with intent to commit an unlawful act, mail theft and possessing a document or personal ID to commit forgery or counterfeiting, based on court records.

He is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 15, court records show.

Contact Jeff Burbank at jburbank@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0382. Follow him @JeffBurbank2 on Twitter.

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