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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

No. 2 Nuke Commander escapes being charged in counterfeit poker chip scandal

Tim Giardina
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Navy Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, the No. 2 officer at the military command in charge of all U.S. nuclear war-fighting forces, hit our news reports earlier this week. Iowa authorities have decided not to prosecute Giardina — in Iowa the use of fake gambling chips is a felony --even though he is suspected of passing counterfeit chips in a poker game at the Horseshoe Council Bluffs Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

“At this point we're not going to press state charges,” said Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent David Dales.

Iowa's investigation of the matter came to an end in August, the U.S. Defense Department received the information, and Iowa prosecutors will keep the case open in the event that anything new develops while Giardina waits for the next move from the military authorities.

While officials haven't confirmed if there are others that are suspect in the case, according to Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber, Giardina put at least $1,500 in counterfeit chips into play at the Horseshoe Council Bluffs, which is located just across the river from Omaha, Nebraska.

PokerNews.com reported earlier that a source familiar with the investigation said, "It was a few chips discovered in a cash game on only one occasion [back in June]."

When the Horseshoe discovered the fake chips, management took that denomination of chip out of play for the month that followed and players that came away from the game with the counterfeit chips were paid face value by the Horseshoe.

“Considering Adm. Giardina's lack of criminal history as well as his career in the military, we concluded there wasn't any chance of him receiving anything other than deferred judgment,” Wilber said. “We chose to let [the Defense Department] handle it.”

Giardina was suspended by Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler and prohibited from performing duties at the Offutt Air Force Base near Bellevue once allegations appeared. Kehler also recommended to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Giardina be reassigned.

Giardina has been the deputy commander of Strategic Command since December 2011, but was to be rotated out of that position later this year as President Obama had appointed someone to replace him back in early July. According to his biography on navy.mil, Giardina “most recently served as deputy commander and chief of staff, United States Pacific Fleet. His most recent command assignment was as commander, Submarine Group Trident, Submarine Group Nine, and Submarine Group 10 where he was responsible for all 18 U.S. Trident Submarines.”

Since December 2011, Giardina has been the deputy commander of Strategic Command. President Obama appointed someone to replace Giardina back in early July and he was going to be rotated out of that position at some point this year. Giardina's biography on navy.mil states that he “most recently served as deputy commander and chief of staff, United States Pacific Fleet. His most recent command assignment was as commander, Submarine Group Trident, Submarine Group Nine, and Submarine Group 10 where he was responsible for all 18 U.S. Trident Submarines.”

Find more information atOmaha.com.

*Image courtesy of navy.mil.

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