Clogged Pipe Brings Arrest In Fake-Chip Case At AC Casino

Clogged Pipe Brings Arrest In Fake-Chip Case At AC Casino

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -

"Royal flush" took on a new meaning in Atlantic City after some counterfeit poker chips were found in the toilet.

Investigators say they have linked the find to a North Carolina man, who they say had smuggled the fake chips – valued more than $2.7 million, in all – into a poker tournament at the Borgata hotel casino.

The discovery was made on Jan. 14 at Harrah's Resort and Casino when workers unclogged a sewer pipe in one of their hotel rooms, New Jersey state police say.

The discovery prompted Harrah's to notify Borgata officials. As a result, tournament personnel found 160 $5,000 counterfeit poker chips totaling $800,000, among the genuine casino chips. The compromise forced officials to cancel Event 1 of the Winter Poker Open at the Borgata Casino.

An investigation revealed evidence that Lusardi introduced the counterfeit chips into the tournament on multiple occasions, state police say. It was also determined that Lusardi obtained $6, 814 in winnings during the tournament.

Detectives say they discovered that Lusardi, 42, of Fayetteville, N.C., had left the casino and not returned to his room. A warrant was issued for his arrest, charging him with rigging a publicly exhibited contest, criminal attempt, and theft by deception. Bail was set at $300,000 full with no 10-percent option.

On Friday, members of the state police department's Casino Gaming Bureau's Special Investigations Unit and a Fugitive Unit located Lusardi at an Atlantic City motel. He was apprehended without incident and lodged in jail in default of bail.

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