It’s back to the slammer

Nov 7, 2006 5:46 AM

It’s easy to beat the casinos if your playing with funny money”¦or at least that was the "gambling" philosophy of a Rhode Island man.

Last week, Louis "The Coin" Colavecchio of Pawtucket was arrested by federal, state and local authorities, charged with making counterfeit tokens designed to work in casino slot machines.

His tokens allegedly were used in casinos from Connecticut to Las Vegas.

Colavecchio, 64, was accused of making the tokens, which ranged in value from $5 to $100 at his home and at his place of business in North Providence. However, his counterfeiting expertise was not unknown to the authorities. He was convicted of a similar crime in 1998 and was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

Police said they spent three months investigating the latest charges. They said he would obtain tokens that he intended to duplicate from the various casinos. While making rubber molds of these tokens, he would send them off to a chemist to determine the exact mix of metals which he would then duplicate. He also created dyes to match the token patterns.

Among the casinos allegedly scammed were the two Connecticut Indian-run properties, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun; the Trump casinos, the Borgatta, the Sands and Caesar’s Casinos in Atlantic City, and Harrah’s properties in Las Vegas.

Investigators said Colavecchio has been charged with 10 counts of forgery and counterfeiting or alteration of a trademark.