Christian Lusardi, a poker player from Fayetteville, North Carolina, is going to prison for bringing millions of dollars in counterfeit chips to Borgata’s Winter Poker Open Tournament. The tournament that began Jan. 14, 2014, was supposed to last three weeks, but ended after three days, when guests at the nearby Harrah’s hotel reported a leak in the sewer line in two adjoining rooms. Hotel staff found the leak had allegedly been caused by someone flushing counterfeit Borgata poker chips with a face value of nearly $2.7 million down the toilet. More than 500 chips were extracted from plumbing. Lusardi was staying at Harrah’s when he flushed the chips down the toilet in his hotel room’s bathroom.
There were 27 people remaining in the Borgata Winter Open Big Stack, No Limit Hold ‘Em event when play was suspended. The $1.5 million in remaining prize money was put on hold before the state Division of Gaming Enforcement ordered the money be distributed and entry fees refunded. Lusardi had won $6,814 in the tournament.
Christian Lusardi, 43, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, had pleaded guilty to second-degree trademark counterfeiting and third-degree criminal mischief on Aug. 13. 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 and $9,455 to Harrah’s Casino Hotel for damaging its plumbing.