Christian Lusardi made headlines in the gambling world in 2014 when he attempted to pull off a brazen scam by using counterfeit chips at the 2014 Borgata Poker Tournament. The counterfeit chips Lusardi used in the tournament managed to fool table dealers and his scam only came to light after he tried to flush down his counterfeit chips at Harrah’s Casino Hotel.
Lusardi who was staying at the hotel tried to flush down 500 counterfeit chips that were estimated to be over $2.7 million dollars. This move proved to be his undoing and the chips clogged the drains at Harrah’s Casino Hotel and went service personnel opened the drains to fix the issue, they were surprised to see millions of dollars stuck in a drain. Investigations led them to the 43 year old Lusardi who would later confess to the crime.
He was tried and indicted by a grand jury in an Atlantic County court on the charges of third-degree criminal mischief; second-degree attempted theft by deception and second-degree trademark counterfeiting. Lusardi confessed that he had ordered the fake counterfeit chips via the internet and bought them from a manufacturer in China and would later go on to stick to counterfeited logo stickers before taking them into the casino to play.
The scam caused a lot of problems for the Borgata and they were forced to cancel the tournament and then face a lawsuit from players who felt wronged by the cancellation of the tournament. The Borgata was also forced to review its security policies and look at adopting higher safety standards for its chips to ensure that another counterfeit chip scam would not hurt their business.
In a statement, Acting Attorney General Hoffman said
Lusardi’s alleged scheme to play high-stakes poker with counterfeit chips played out like a Hollywood movie plot. As theatrical as this was, we cannot lose sight of the serious nature of this financial crime. By allegedly betting with phony chips, Lusardi cheated other players and cost the Borgata hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost tournament revenues
When the authorities raided Lusardi’s apartment they also found more than 35,000 counterfeit DVD’s that he supposedly obtained from China between 2010 and 2012. The court ordered Christian Lusardi to pay back $1.1 million in restitution charges after he pleaded guilty to counterfeit label trafficking and copyright infringement. He was sentenced to five years in federal prison.