You probably know you’re not supposed to bring your own poker chips to a poker tournament. I think we can all agree that that would be cheating, and that cheating is bad.
But there’s something you might not know, some secret store of knowledge to which only the keenest and most devious criminal mind is privy: If you think you might get caught, don’t try and flush millions of dollars of phony chips down the hotel plumbing.
A judge on Thursday sentenced Christian Lusardi to five years in prison. Lusardi also must pay $463,540 in restitution to the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa for the revenue it lost when it canceled the 2014 tournament in Atlantic City and $9,455 to Harrah’s Casino Hotel for damaging its plumbing.
Lusardi, 43, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to trademark counterfeiting and criminal mischief.
Authorities said Lusardi suspected his scheme had been discovered so he flushed the fake chips down the toilet in his room at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, where he had been staying. But the chips clogged the pipes, and guests on the floor below complained that water was dripping into their rooms.
Maintenance was called, and the chips were found. An additional 22 tournament chips worth $5,000 were found in a clogged toilet in the Borgata the next day.
That’s no way to beat the house.