Christian Lusardi, known as the infamous Borgata chip counterfeiter, only spent a short 7 months in jail for his crimes committed against the poker community.
Lusardi's misdeed hit the headlines in the world of poker back in 2014, when he attempted to bluff his way through the Borgata's Winter Poker Open by putting in $2.7 million worth of counterfeit chips into the tournament. By the time the organizers have discovered the fake chips, the tournament was suddenly stopped, with 27 players still remaining.
Failed attempt to cover his tracks
The police pointed him as the culprit right after a plumber was summoned to take care of a pipe blockage next to the casino, Harrah's Casino Atlantic City, and it was discovered that the cause of the blockage was 500+ counterfeit poker chips being flushed down a hotel room toilet that belonged to Christian Lusardi. Due to that, Lusardi admitted to buying fake poker chips with the intention to cheat.
As a result, he was sentenced to five years behind bars.
Things are not yet done for Lusardi, as he was also found guilty of selling bootlegged DVDs and so his time in prison was added an extra three years. Therefore, he was due to spend eight years in jail.
He was also ordered to pay $1,137,864.01 restitution.
Lusardi had won in the said tournament $6,814.
Early release sparked outrage
Due to some probing by members of the Poker Fraud Alert forum, it was found that Lusardi's imprisonment only lasted roughly 7 months.
Upon a search done on the website of the State of New Jersey Department of Corrections, Lusardi's name bears the SBI Number: 000808046B. In this record, Lusardi was admitted in December 1, 2015, and paroled on July 25, 2016. Even though the record shows that his release date is January 22, 2019, he has been out of jail on parole since 2016 summer. Of course, this news of his early release leaves a bad taste to many seasoned poker players.
User Dan Druff commented on the forum, "This is outrageous, given the amount of damage his actions caused, coupled with the fact that he's a career scammer and already had a recent conviction for DVD counterfeiting on his record before this trial."
Bad luck for the players
What about the 27 players? They lost the opportunity to win a possible life-changing grand prize from the Borgata Winter Poker Open they joined in. With a total of 4,812 participants, the overall prizepool in the $500 re-entry event reached $2,325,835.
This means that the 27 remaining players were competing for a top prize of $372,123. Sadly, after pausing and eventually cancelling the tournament, the 27 individuals were forced to accept a payment of $19,323 each. Also, all eligible players who joined the event were given their $500 entry fee back, plus an extra $60. The Borgata, in total, returned $1,721,805 to the players.
In short, the result from this event was that those who were left standing walked away with a lot less than they expected, and this is all thanks to Lusardi's actions.