A North Carolina man was indicted Wednesday on charges that he brought millions of dollars in counterfeit poker chips to Atlantic City to use in a poker tournament at the Borgata Casino.

Christian Lusardi, 43, was indicted by an Atlantic County grand jury on charges of second-degree trademark counterfeiting, second-degree attempted theft by deception and third-degree criminal mischief.

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The alleged plot was discovered after workers at Harrah’s discovered a stopped pipe had been clogged with millions in counterfeit poker chips.

State Police identified Lusardi as the man they believe was responsible for the counterfeit chips and arrested him Jan. 24, 2014. Police say he ordered the poker chips over the Internet from a Chinese manufacturer and affixed the counterfeit logo stickers to them.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, which cancelled the tournament on Jan. 18, 2014, issued an order directing the fair distribution of remaining prize funds and refund of entry fees by the Borgata.

“Lusardi’s alleged scheme to play high-stakes poker with counterfeit chips played out like a Hollywood movie plot,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “As theatrical as this was, we cannot lose sight of the serious nature of this financial crime. By allegedly betting with phony chips, Lusardi cheated other players and cost the Borgata hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost tournament revenues.”

The poker chips additionally caused $10,000 in damage to the plumbing at Harrah's. That was the basis for the charge for criminal mischief.

Contact: 609-272-7260

TTynes@pressofac.com

Twitter @TylerRickyTynes

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