Borgata counterfeit poker chips mystery cleared

Jan 27, 2014 10:26 AM

And the morale of the story was simple: If you want to dispose of counterfeit chips, don’t try to chug them down a toilet drain.

That, according to state investigators, is what Christian Lusardi of Fayetteville, North Casino, attempted to do when Borgata Casino officials found that someone had introduced counterfeit chips into a poker tournament.

Lusardi was arrested Friday at a motel in Atlantic City on charges including theft and rigging a public contest, according to a report by the AP’s Wayne Parry.

The allegations followed a revelation by poker tournament officials that some 160 of the counterfeit poker chips, with a tournament value of $5,000 and totaling $800,000, were found among the genuine casino chips.

State officials from the Division of Gaming  Enforcement temporarily froze the tournament’s prize money and canceled the event. 

The Borgata’s senior vice president Joe Lupo said the first indication that anything was amiss came when his casino received a call from Harrah’s Casino nearby in the city’s Marina District. A chip examination followed, as did an immediate cancellation of the tournament.

New Jersey State Police Trooper Jeffrey Flynn told the Associated Press that it appeared that the counterfeit chips were slipped into tournament play on multiple occasions. Also, it was determined that Lusardi had son $6,814 during the tournament.

The suspect was jailed awaiting payment of $300,000 bail money.

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