Man arrested after $2.7M in counterfeit chips found in clogged toilet

Jan. 25, 2014 at 12:50 AM
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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., Jan. 25 (UPI) -- A competitor in an Atlantic City, N.J., poker tournament was arrested Friday, days after plumbers found $2.7 million in counterfeit chips in a clogged toilet.

Christian Lusardi, 42, of Fayetteville, N.C., has been charged with rigging a public contest and other charges, the Press of Atlantic City reported. He had moved out of the room at Harrah's where the chips were found to a budget motel a few blocks away.

The discovery of the chips led to the suspension of the Borgata Winter Open on Jan. 16 and the freezing of prize money. But the casino and police did not give details about the discovery of the chips until Friday.

Borgata employees who reviewed the tournament found about $800,000 worth of counterfeit chips had been played.

"This is the first time we've had anything like this happen in our 10 years in business, and it's the first time I've seen this in my 27 years in gaming," Borgata Senior Vice President Joe Lupo said.

Lusardi won $6,814 in the tournament, including a $2,000 bonus for entering the second day as the chip leader.

"The fact that this guy flushed the chips down the toilet, that just has to be the stupidest thing I've ever heard," Ryan Messick of Bear, Del., who had been eliminated from the tournament by the time it was canceled, told the Press. "There was no way he wasn't going to be found out."

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