Arrest Made in Counterfeit Chip Case at BorgataTuesday, January 28th, 2014 by Ryan
We spoke before about the interesting situation that came up with the counterfeit chips that were found during play at the Borgata Winter Poker Open’s preliminary event. The event was actually cancelled early after the counterfeit chips were caught, and things weren’t looking pretty as there was pretty much a mass confusion of what was going to happen with the remaining 27 players who were left in the action.
On top of all of that though, the investigation was in full swing to attempt to find out who actually brought the counterfeit chips into the tournament. Interestingly enough, the eventual player who was brought in by Atlantic City and New Jersey gaming authorities for bringing in the counterfeit chips was the chip leader from Day 1B. It was an odd situation after the chips were found, as the plumbing staff at the Harrah’s resort actually reported that they were dealing with an issue that had stopped up a sewer pipe in the hotel. The staff found a big clog in the drain, and after checking into it they found out that someone had decided to try to flush down 2.7 million worth of counterfeit Borgata tournament poker chips.
From this point, the employees simply had to figure out what room the chips were actually from, and that wasn’t too tough of a task according to the reports that came out. They decided to check into the guest complains about the leaks in the plumbing, and from there they found out which room and which guest was staying in the room. At this point the suspect was obvious, as Christian Lusardi was the man whose room this all came from. Harrah’s told the Borgata about the situation, and this was right when Event #1 was actually in full swing.
The counterfeit chip situation came to a head, and then the Borgata tournament staff found an additional 800,000 worth of value in counterfeit tournament chips that were actually still being used in the tournament. Before the start of the second day of the event, the Borgata made the decision to delay the tournament and look into this situation more in-depth.
Before long, the tournament had to be cancelled, and when we looked at the final 27 players who were left, Lusardi was actually sitting at the top of the leaderboard before the start of that Day 2. He decided to never go back to the tournament, or to his room at Harrah’s though, and before long he was actually picked up by the New Jersey authorities at a Super 8 motel in Atlantic City before noon a few days back. He ended up being charged with multiple things, included rigging a publicly exhibited contest, and we are not currently sure if anyone else was involved.
Lusardi is in Atlantic City on $300,000 bail, and because of the violations that he’s being charged with,h the entire amount would have to be paid before he can be released, instead of just the 10% that is usually accepted up front. If you think you’ve heard Lusardi’s name before, there’s a chance you have. He’s had a run-in with police before relating to poker, and this came back in 2008 when he was the owner of a house that had an illegal poker room being ran in it based out of Fayetteville, NC.
At that point he was charged with gambling and illegal alcohol sales. There were 39 other people who were charged with illegal gambling then, and many of them were soldiers from Fort Bragg. Everyone in Borgata was obviously happy about the arrest and the fact that they tracked down who was responsible for this. Joe Lup, the Borgata’s senior vice president stated that they were “very pleased that the New Jersey State Police Casino Gaming Bureau has apprehended a suspect in connect with the counterfeit chip activity that compromised Event #1 of the Borgata Winter Poker Open.”
There have already been talks about the penalties, but obviously the poker community wants to see Lusardi banned from any event of any type for the future, and that he shouldn’t be allowed near any type of tournament or poker series. That’s definitely likely to happen, especially with something that ended up being this massive of a situation.