A North Carolina man has been arrested for allegedly flushing counterfeit poker chips worth $2.7 million down the toilet of a hotel room in Atlantic City.
Christian Lusardi, a 42-year-old resident of Fayetteville in North Carolina, was allegedly using these chips while playing the Big Stack No Limit Hold’em tournament, held as part of the Winter Poker Open at Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa. Unfortunately for Lusardi, casino officials got suspicious and he tried to get rid of the counterfeit chips by flushing them down the toilet. His fake chips blocked the hotel’s sewer pipes, forcing the hotel officials to investigate. When they found the fake chips, they immediately contacted the officials of Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, who in turn got in touch with the New Jersey police.
Police officers tracked Lusardi to an Atlantic City motel and arrested him. They later found out that Lusardi had used fake poker chips during tournaments several times. According to a CNN report, Lusardi had won $6,814 during the Borgata Winter Open Big Stack NL Hold’em event.
The poker tournament, which began in the middle of January 2014, had to be cancelled after casino officials discovered counterfeit poker chips worth $800,000 along with the genuine chips. The tournament was first suspended for 24 hours and then cancelled. Tom Ballance, chief executive officer of Borgata, said: “Thus far, investigators have found that one or more tournament entrants improperly introduced a significant number of counterfeit chips into the tournament, gaining an unfair advantage and compromising the integrity of play for the event.”
He further stated that the casino officials will co-operate with NJDGE investigators as the casino gives top priority to integrity and customer care. He also assured players that the casino has examined its stock of chips thoroughly to make sure that it contained no more fake chips.
In an interview with CNN, Joe Lupo, senior vice president (operations) at Borgata, called it an “unusual occurrence.” He said: “It’s the first time in Borgata’s 10 years that anything like this has happened.” He also expressed satisfaction that the NJ State Police Casino Gaming Bureau has arrested a suspect, adding that the NJDGE and the New Jersey police are continuing their investigation.
Lusardi has been charged on counts of criminal attempt, rigging a public tournament, and theft. Police say that he is currently in Atlantic City Jail with a $300k bail on him without the option to pay ten percent of it.