The man behind the ‘Chipgate’ scandal at the 2014 Borgata Winter Poker Open has been sentenced to five years in prison.
In January 2014, New Jersey police arrested Christian Lusardi, a 43-year-old North Carolina native, following an investigation into how counterfeit casino chips made it onto the Borgata’s poker tables during a tournament earlier that month.
Lusardi’s master plan came undone after alert players spotted the bogus chips, forcing the Borgata to cancel Event #1 of their marquee tourney. A panicked Lusardi then rushed back to his Harrah’s hotel room and attempted to flush a couple thousand of the bogus chips down the toilet. In this clueless game of Clue, the solution was Lusardi in the bathroom with the plunger.
Late last month, Lusardi was sentenced to five years in a federal prison, but not for anything to do with his Borgata escapades. Federal prosecutors were infinitely more interested in Lusardi’s thriving business of importing bootleg DVDs from China. In the investigation that followed Lusardi’s New Jersey arrest, the feds found over 35,500 illegal DVDs in his possession, presumably because they were too big to flush.
Having pled guilty last September to copyright infringement and trafficking in counterfeit labels, Lusardi was sentenced to 60 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Lusardi was also ordered to pay $1.14m in restitution, only slightly less than the $1.3m the feds believe Lusardi generated via his bootleg business in the US and Canada.
Lusardi’s escapades at the Borgata – which resulted in charges of rigging a publicly exhibited contest, criminal attempt and theft – didn’t warrant a mention in the release from the US Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Speculation has it that the Chipgate charges were expunged in exchange for Lusardi’s plea on the DVD activities.