FAKE poker chips to the value of $2.7 million have been discovered flushed down a toilet at a top Atlantic City casino.
The discovery led authorities to a man they say sneaked counterfeit chips into a poker tournament at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, prompting the cancellation of one of its events last week.
Christian Lusardi, of Fayetteville, N.C., was arrested Friday at a motel in Atlantic City on charges including theft and rigging a public contest. It was unknown if he had a lawyer. A phone registered to his name in Fayetteville was answered by a recording indicating it was no longer in service.
Borgata senior vice president Joe Lupo said the first indication that anything was amiss came when his casino received a call from Harrah’s, nearby it in the city’s marina district, about a mile away from Atlantic City’s Boardwalk.
Borgata staff then checked the chips being used in the Borgata Winter Poker Open and found 160 of the counterfeit poker chips with a tournament value of 5,000, totaling 800,000, among the genuine casino chips. The compromise forced officials to cancel Event 1 of the tournament, while dozens of uncompromised events were allowed to continue.
The entry fee for the tournament was $560, but the chips the players used in the tournament don’t have any value as U.S. currency.