Christian Lusardi, the man accused of filtering more than two million forged chips into the Borgata Winter Poker Open, has been sentenced to five years in jail for trafficking counterfeit DVDs worth more than $1.3 million.
The Fayetteville, North Carolina, native first came to the attention of the poker community in 2014 after allegedly smuggling bogus chips into the Borgata Winter Poker Open.
After discovering more than two million extra chips in the opening event of the series, the organizers were forced to cancel the tournament and refund the affected players.
A few days later, when the toilets inside Harrah’s Casino, Atlantic City, became blocked, the local police linked the incident to Lusardi who was subsequently arrested.
A preliminary hearing saw the 43-year-old plead guilty to the crime but seemingly negotiate a deal to dismiss the state charges in favor of answering federal charges.
Trading Chips for Charges
In light of this deal, Maurice VerStandig speculated in a statement to Pokernews that a deal could have been negotiated between Lusardi, the state and federal prosecutors.
“Could he have negotiated a dismissal of the state charges in exchange for his federal plea? Absolutely. Is it odd that he [pleaded] guilty to both counts with which he was charged in federal court? Somewhat. Does this suggest federal and state prosecutors cooperated? Maybe. But is any of this a certainty? Absolutely not,” the East-coast attorney told Pokernews.
However, despite not facing charges relating to the chip incident in Atlantic City, Lusardi will still spend the next five years behind bars for producing counterfeit DVDs.
Lusardi had been under surveillance by customs agents since 2012 and his arrest in Atlantic City was the catalyst that allowed them to move in on their man.
One Sentence May Not be Enough
In court Lusardi admitted to possessing more than 35,000 counterfeit DVDs and selling them. Taking this into account, plus the estimated $1.3 million Lusardi made from selling forged DVDs, the judge handed Lusardi a five-year sentence, plus a $1.1 million fine.
Although the case now appears to be closed, there is still a possibility that Lusardi could face charges relating to the chip incident at the Borgata.
Despite that being unlikely, his admission of guilt does mean it’s technically possible that he could receive a further sentence in the future.