New Jersey State Police and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Nab Counterfeiter
Atlantic City, N.J. - What do you normally discover when you unclog a sewer pipe? When workers at Harrah’s Resort and Casino unclogged a sewer pipe in one of their hotel rooms, they discovered 2.7 million dollars worth of counterfeit Borgata Casino poker chips on Tuesday, January14, 2014. This was the same room where Christian Lusardi, 42, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was staying when he was not playing in the Winter Poker Open at the Borgata Casino.
The discovery prompted Harrah’s to notify Borgata officials. As a result, tournament personnel found 160 $5,000 counterfeit poker chips totaling $800,000, among the genuine casino chips. The compromise forced officials to cancel Event 1 of the Winter Poker Open at the Borgata Casino.
A cooperative investigation between the New Jersey State Police, Special Investigations Unit and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement revealed evidence that Lusardi introduced the counterfeit chips into the tournament on multiple occasions. It was also determined that Lusardi obtained $6, 814.00 in winnings during the tournament.
Detectives discovered that Lusardi had left the casino and not returned to his room. As a result, a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was charged with Rigging a Publicly Exhibited Contest, Criminal Attempt, and Theft by Deception. Bail was set at $300,000 full with no 10% option.
On Friday, January 24, 2014, members of the New Jersey State Police Casino Gaming Bureau, Special Investigations Unit, and the New Jersey State Police Fugitive Unit located Lusardi at a motel in Atlantic City, N.J. He was apprehended without incident and lodged in the Atlantic County Jail in default of bail.
Charges are merely accusations and the suspect is considered innocent until proven guilty.
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